Prolific American painter and print maker Wayne Thiebaud is perhaps best known for his colorful, heavily-pigmented works depicting everyday objects including lipstick, paint cans and gumball machines. Associated with the pop art movement alongside contemporaries including Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, Thiebaud’s work actually predated classic pop artists.
Born to a Mormon family in Mesa, Arizona, Thiebaud spent his adolescence in Long Beach, California. After working as a drawing apprentice at Walt Disney Studios, he attended Frank Wiggins Trade School in Los Angeles before working as a cartoonist and designer in California and New York. He later earned his bachelor’s degree from Sacramento State College in 1951 and his Master’s in 1952.
Working as a professor at the University of California, Davis, Thibaud took a leave of absence in the late 1950’s, spending time in New York City where he befriended Elaine and Willem de Kooning and Franz Kline, leading to a heavy abstract influence in his work, as well as pop artists Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. Hosting his first solo exhibition in 1960 at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, he also enjoyed shows in New York City before gaining national recognition when Sidney Janis Gallery launched Pop Art in 1962.
Well-known for his vibrant paintings and prints of everyday objects, Thiebaud often drew inspiration from items found in restaurants. Though Thiebaud never thought of himself as a “pop artist,” he often found his work displayed alongside the major pop artists of the day.
One of his iconic works, Bow Ties (1990) is a lithograph in colors on wove paper, signed, inscribed and dated in pencil. The piece, depicting colorful bow ties in the artist’s signature exaggerated color scheme, Thiebaud uses shadow and space to create depth and contrast in the image.
Available as the featured piece in Hindman’s upcoming Prints and Multiples sale, Bow Ties (1990) by Wayne Thiebaud is valued at $20,000 to $30,000. The sale will take place on Wednesday, May 22 at 2 p.m. at Hindman’s Chicago headquarters, with the catalog available for preview now.