Wayne Thiebaud (1920 – Present) was born in Mesa, Arizona, the son of a Bishop in a Mormon family. Thiebaud was raised in Long Beach, California. He apprenticed at Walt Disney studios during high school, drawing pictures of cartoon characters before studying at the Frank Wiggins Trade School in Los Angeles. From graduating in 1938 until 1949 Thiebaud worked as a cartoonist and designer between California and New York.
In 1949, Thiebaud attended Sacramento State College to earn both his BA and MA. Post-graduation in 1952, Thiebaud began teaching at Sacramento State. Pursuing his love for teaching, Thiebaud began teaching Art at the University of California, Davis, in 1962. He remained in this post on and off until the end of 1991.
In 1960, Thiebaud had his first solo show in San Francisco at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, holding shows at the Staempfli gallery and the Tanager gallery in New York City the same year. The 1962 the Sidney Janis Gallery included Thiebaud in an exhibition launching Pop Art, placing Thiebaud onto an increasingly international stage.
In 1962, Thiebaud’s work was included in the New Painting of Common Objects exhibition curated by Walter Hopps at the Norton Simon Museum at Pasadena (then the Pasadena Art Museum), the success of which was monumental. In 1963, Thiebaud began to experiment with different mediums, turning towards figure painting, and in 1964, making his first prints at Crown Point Press. In 1967, Thiebaud was included at the Venice Biennale Internationale. Thiebaud was awarded the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement in 1987, presented with the National Medal of Arts by President Clinton in 1994 and inducted into the California Hall of Fame in 2010.
Thiebaud’s work is held in a number of permanent collections worldwide, including at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.; the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C.; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento; Phoenix Art Museum and Nelson Atkins Art Museum, Kansas City, Missouri.