On Wednesday, January 31, the Modern Art Council of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) will host the 2006 Bay Area Treasure Award luncheon, honoring esteemed painter and printmaker Wayne Thiebaud. Organized by the Modern Art Council, SFMOMA’s premier fund-raising auxiliary, this annual lifetime achievement award recognizes Bay Area artists who continually define and redefine contemporary art. Thiebaud is the seventh honoree; previous award recipients are painters Robert Bechtle and Nathan Oliveira, industrial designer Sara Little Turnbull, architect Lawrence Halprin, and photographers Ruth Bernhard and Larry Sultan.
A retrospective of Thiebaud’s work presented in conjunction with the Museum’s 50th anniversary in 1985 was met with great enthusiasm by the city of San Francisco. As SFMOMA approaches its 75th anniversary, it is proud once again to honor Thiebaud’s extraordinary contributions to the Bay Area.
Proceeds from the 2006 Bay Area Treasure Award benefit the Museum’s exhibitions and public programs.
Event Chair: Karen Eichler
Modern Art Council President: Sara K. Cumbelich
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
11:30 a.m.–2 p.m.
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
151 Third Street, San Francisco
Lecture and presentation: Phyllis Wattis Theater
Luncheon: Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Atrium
$5,000 Grand Benefactor Table
$350 Individual Benefactor
$200 Individual Supporter
For tickets or more information, please call the Modern Art Council at 415.357.4125
Fred M. Levin and Nancy Livingston, The Shenson Foundation and The CAC Group; award courtesy of Tiffany & Co.; wine courtesy of David Noyes and Chalk Hill Winery
About the Artist
Born in 1920 in Mesa, Arizona, Thiebaud established his interest in art as a young man, studying commercial art and becoming an animation artist for Disney at age 16. While serving in the U.S. Air Force during World War II, Thiebaud put his skills to work as a mapmaker and a cartoonist for the GI newspaper. After his discharge in 1945, he worked as a commercial illustrator. He began his formal artistic studies at San Jose State University, then transferred to California State University, Sacramento, where he finished both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in studio art and art education.
By 1960 Thiebaud had developed a distinctive visual vocabulary centered around food. Depictions of everyday Americana—sandwiches, gumball machines, toys, cafeteria foods, and, famously, cakes and pies—reflect his focus on the ubiquitous yet anonymous objects of American culture. In 1962 his work was exhibited in the Sidney Janis exhibition The New Realism, which initiated the Pop art movement; in the wake of that exhibition, Thiebaud’s name surfaced regularly in discussions of recognized and emerging Pop artists. In the 1970s and 1980s, he moved away from delicatessen paintings and on to San Francisco landscapes, using fragmented memories to create a distinct representation of the city.
In 2001 a retrospective of Thiebaud’s work was organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and today his paintings are on view at almost every major modern art museum in the United States, including SFMOMA, which owns more than 65 of his works. In addition, he has garnered acclaim as a distinguished teacher, having taught at the University of California, Davis, Cornell University, and the Academy of Art College, among others. Thiebaud, now 86, continues to paint at his studio in Sacramento, California.