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Wayne Thiebaud: A Paintings Retrospective Hardcover – June, 2000


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Wayne Thiebaud: A Paintings Retrospective + Delicious: The Art and Life of Wayne Thiebaud + Counting with Wayne Thiebaud
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson; F First Edition edition (June 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0500092923
  • ISBN-13: 978-0500092927
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 0.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #222,954 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Famous for his dreamy 1960s paintings of cakes, Wayne Thiebaud began his career as a commercial artist and cartoon illustrator like many other artists of the period, including Andy Warhol. And like Warhol, Thiebaud became tied to pop art since he was making images of popular American products like food, lipsticks, and toys. Yet unlike many of his pop peers, Bay Area-based Thiebaud wasn't interested in poking fun at the establishment. He's a painter's painter, a real traditionalist. Wayne Thiebaud: A Paintings Retrospective covers a career of rendering still lifes, cityscapes, landscapes, and the figure. His cake paintings are formally beautiful in their color, shadow, and composition. They are perfect specimens of the good life in America, the paint lovingly applied in places like thick frosting. His cityscapes of San Francisco fiercely exaggerate the hilly landscape, capturing a perspective from the ground and air simultaneously while utilizing the light that the Bay Area is famous for.

Thoughtful essays by Steven A. Nash, associate director and chief curator for the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, and Adam Gopnik, a writer for The New Yorker, discuss Thiebaud in relation to his peers, pop, modernism, and abstract expressionism. This book serves as a catalog for Thiebaud's major retrospective, which opened in San Francisco and travels to Forth Worth, Texas, Washington, D.C., and ends in New York in the fall of 2001. Besides their beauty, these works truly capture a period of American life in a way that feels free of irony but not without commentary about nature, the city, and how we've lived. --J.P. Cohen

From Publishers Weekly

"He is an American painter, someone who paints for a living and whose subject, for all its formal perfection, is what we are to make of American abundance," writes New Yorker art critic Gopnik in his long, in-jokey introductory essay to Thiebaud's oeuvre now touring the country as a retrospective. As Gopnik makes clear, Thiebaud is famous for his lush early '60s paintings of cakes, other sweets and people eating them, but this book and the exhibition it documentsAput together by chief curator Nash of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, who also provides an essayAreveal the painter to be preoccupied with a larger slice of American life. The impossible perspectives and multigraded blues and yellows of the cityscapes here seem more bizarrely true to San Francisco than stills from Vertigo. Heavy Traffic, Deli Bowls, Tie Rack and Rabbit are just what they say they are, yet their surfaces coax us into looking at them harder and longer than such banal objects could possibly entice on their own. Such dressings-up themselves are commonplace in media-saturated American life, and Thiebaud redirects their energy unerringly throughout the 160 illustrations here, most in color. One might wish for a less insidery guide to the work than Gopnik's, but the panache of his biographical prose carries readers right into the paintings, well and comprehensively selected by Nash, whose own essay provides welcome detail on Thiebaud's working life.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Beautiful book with wonderful color illustrations.
Jacqueline Piechowski
This is a great book just to have or to have to study.
kelly mitchell
I would suggest this to any artist, or art admirer!
Strange_1

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Irene Brady Thomas on December 17, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I purchased this book right after walking through the Thiebaud retrospective at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. I usually don't like to buy books after I've seen the work firsthand as the color never compares with the paintings I had just seen. In this case, though, I was impressed with the reproduction color. As an artist I get to use this book to study how Thiebaud makes his works "sparkle" by painting one color next to another.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 24, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I own lots of art books, but this is already one of my favorites. I stare and stare at these pictures and marvel at what he has done. The painting is so simple at first glance, and so much more complex and fascinating the longer I look. If you are a painter, there is very much to be learned from these paintings. The phrase "paint lovingly applied" in the editorial review is most apt--and as a result, one loves looking at it. This man is really a PAINTER, an artist who revives one's faith in painting here at the turn of a century that has seen more than its share of charlatans and feeble talents. Everything he paints looks profoundly delicious, and the landscapes and cityscapes from the 80's and 90's are like thrilling dreams. The book is a revelation!
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Reich Claude on April 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The fact that Wayne Thiebaud is one of the most important American painters alive is undisputable. Now, this does not mean that any comprehensive book on his output should deserve 5 stars. This particular publication, the catalogue for a 2000 retrospective at the Whitney Museum in NYC, enables the reader to discover the whole range of the artist's paintings: cakes, bakery counters, tie racks, pin-ball machines, but also portraits (of his wife) and more recent Californian landscapes. The text is a fairly good, though not groundbreaking, description of his art, but the main drawback lies in the illustrations: I found the colors somewhat faded and, above all, there are no magnified details of the works, which I consider especially disappointing for such an artist as Thiebaud whose distinctive and thick brushstrokes and layers of paint are characteristic parts of his art.

Yet, it is the only significant publication on the artist, so let us not be too harsh on the rating...
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 30, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Remember that old Frank Sinatra song that served as an inspirational film for rainy day grade school entertainment in the 50's? Well, if there is an artist who has captured the imagination and dreamy reveries of life in the past century, the quieter, more ebulliently committed time to joy and the simple treasures here, that man is Wayne Thiebaud. WAYNE THIEBAUD: A PAINTINGS RETROSPECTIVE is a beautifully designed catalogue raisonne of the pop artist's oeuvre that toured the country a few years ago. Organized by curator Steven A. Nash of San Francisco (the artist's home) this book is beautifully illustrated with all of the iconic images of pies, cakes, candy apples, etc. that everyone associates with Thiebaud. Yet it gives equal time to the inimitable 'landscapes' of the hilly terrain that is San Francisco, valleys of Northern California, and beaches. Thiebaud's ability to flatten vistas into geometric patterns can be compared to Richard Diebenkorn's purely abstract Ocean Park Series of paintings: both artists understand space, color, and the excitement of the line.

Accompanying this 'delicious' array of Thiebaud paintings are essays by both Nash and by Adam Gopnik of 'New Yorker' who aptly praises Thiebaud as a man in the same company of Americana as Walt Whitman, William Carlos Williams, and John Updike! That about sums it all up and this essay alone would be reason enough to buy this important volume of American art history. Simply superb. Grady Harp, October, 2004
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Art Lover on March 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I looked at this book in a museum bookstore immediately after viewing a huge retrospective of Thiebaud's paintings. I was going to buy this book, but after looking through it, I decided not to. Many of the paintings I had just seen in person were reproduced in this book. While I understand that reproductions are never as good as seeing the artwork in person, I was stunned by how drastically these reproductions failed to capture the vibrancy of the original paintings. The images were extremely grayed out and faded, and didn't even come close to capturing the actual colors in his work. Because Thiebaud's work relies so much on color, this was really a bummer. The book did include tons of color reproductions and a good cross section of his work. I would recommend this book to someone who is interested in seeing his paintings, but isn't very intersted in his use of color. For someone who is fascinated by his sophisticated and luminous colors, though, I would not recommend this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Karen Halpern on March 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had ordered this book to share it with my adult painting students in a class I teach. It was to inspire a lesson about painting pictures of pastries. What I found was so much more. The book provides an informative overview of a variety of types of work by this artist, both realist and pop artist, with fine quality reproductions of the art work.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Abigail Taylor on July 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've loved Wayne Thiebaud ever since I was a kid, leafing through my dad's art books - and now that I bake so much I have an even deeper fondness for the crisp cake and pastry paintings. This book covers a wide range of Thiebaud's work, from food to portraits to landscapes (especially my favorites, the vertigo-inspiring San Francisco hills!), and all are reproduced in beautiful crisp prints. The book is big enough to give you clear images but not so big that it won't fit on a bookshelf.

The narrative throughout is also well written, if you can ever bring yourself to read rather than just dreamily flipping through the images.

If you're a Thiebaud fan, I suggest you get this book, I doubt you'll be disappointed!
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