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January 15, 2013


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Thanks for the article and pictures. I am a big Thiebaud fan too. His landscapes and figure paintings are also wonderful. I think the picture of the cakes at the beginning of your article does not look right. That painting is in the National Gallery in Washington DC.

Best, David

Denise @ Swelle

Hi David,

Thanks very much! That's interesting about the header photo - is it too refined? I haven't seen the original but it does look rather slick, doesn't it? Very minimal in that usually yummy Thiebaud texture.

I live in England but I'm from Toronto where I visit yearly and I'm trying to figure out where the nearest Thiebaud would be, I've never seen one of his works in person and would love to. If you happen to know I'd appreciate a point in the right direction!

Best wishes,

Tammera Malicki-Wong

I am in TOTAL agreement...I will take Thiebaud over Warhol anyday as well. Great stuff. I live in Sacramento and know Theibaud's Children one who himself is a well known artist (Matt Bolt). What a Charming man Wayne is! Just like his work! Thanx for the lovely reminder of the days of charm and the man himself!!

Denise @ Swelle

Thanks so much for that, Tammera! I'm off to check out Matt Bolt. I recall reading that one of his other sons had taken over the selling of his work at one point? I'm wondering if Wayne is a bit like Bill Cunningham with all of that talent, wisdom, charm and warmth? Thanks again for the first-hand details! Denise x

David Chow

Hi Denise,

I am trying to think of Thiebaud paintings around Toronto, but don't know of any. I just saw a great exhibition of his work at Acquavella in New York. Too bad you missed that! There was a great picture of yo-yo's in the exhibit (and it is on the poster for the show). That painting is at the Albert-Knox Museum in Buffalo, NY. That is the closest one I know of. Surprisingly, there are very few Thiebauds on view in New York, but there's a nice one at the Whitney (but it may not be on view). New York is more Warhol-oriented, unfortunately. Alternatively, I think there are number of nice ones in museums in Kansas City, and a big one in Nebraska. Of course, there are many exhibited in the Bay Area: the de Young in San Francisco has the most (the one you posted of three gumball machines is at the de Young), and the art museum at Stanford (which is free to the public) has a great one of a lunch counter. The Crocker Art museum in Sacramento (where he lives and works) has two really great examples of paintings of pies.

Faggianato Fine Arts in London had a few exhibitions of his work. They showed a really funny one of stuffed animals and dolls in a shelf. You might want to see it on their website. I don't know whether they still show his work.

I didn't really explain what I meant about the header photo of the cakes. I don't think that is a picture of the actual painting of Cakes (1963). A few years ago a photographer artists starting making photographs of cakes and pies which were intended to copy Thiebaud paintings: so the photographer would bake cakes and arrange them, and the lighting to look like some of Thiebaud's more famous paintings. There is some conceptual aspect of this that is beyond me. In any case, they appear on the internet, and I think you posted one of the photographer's photographs, and not a photograph of the actual painting. I am not certain of this, but the photo you posted looks flat to me, and the lighting is wrong. Also, Thiebaud adds more interesting colors in the frosting of the cakes. I'm looking at the photo of the painting: Thiebaud often uses bright or dark colors to define edges and I don't think any such colors appear in the header photo posted. In any case, you can quickly find other examples of the same painting on the internet, and if you look closely, you can see. There's a close up of that painting on the cover of the book for Thiebaud's retrospective in 2000.

Best regards,


Denise @ Swelle

Hi David,

Thanks for all of this! When I'm in Ontario I'm actually not that far from Albright Knox, I've gone to see their Rothkos (and had to deal with a very strange customs officer who asked me why I was going there. I said 'To look at the paintings' and he took that as snark!). I've never been to San Francisco, and now there's even more reason to make sure I get down there one day. I just took a look at Faggianato and they actually do archive past exhibits, but of course they didn't included the work you mentioned!

I replaced Cake, thanks for pointing that out. I came across a couple of those photographic reproductions you mentioned. Kind of neat but kind of just wrong at the same time! The lighting just can't be reproduced with any accuracy, and that is one of the most intriguing aspects of Thiebaud's paintings, I think. (Along with his colours and the textural way he applies the paint, of course!)

Thanks again, David!

All the best,

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