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‘Wayne Thiebaud Influencer: A New Generation’ Highlights the Artist’s Great Passion — Teaching

Artfix Daily:
Wayne Thiebaud, Three Treats, 1975-76. Oil on panel, 10 1/2 x 11 7/8 in. (26.7 x 30.2 cm). Fine Arts Collection, Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art, University of California, Davis. Promised gift of Betty Jean and Wayne Thiebaud. © 2020 Wayne Thiebaud / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY.
Wayne Thiebaud, Three Treats, 1975-76. Oil on panel, 10 1/2 x 11 7/8 in. (26.7 x 30.2 cm). Fine Arts Collection, Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art, University of California, Davis. Promised gift of Betty Jean and Wayne Thiebaud. © 2020 Wayne Thiebaud / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY.

The profound influence of Wayne Thiebaud is explored both in the Crocker Art Museum's major traveling survey of the centenarian artist and also in a new exhibition at the Manetti Shrem Museum where his role as a teacher and "influencer" is highlighted.

Thiebaud, who turned 100 last November 15th, is a professor emeritus of art at the University of California, Davis, where he taught for a near half-century. He has retained a studio for 70-plus years in mid-town Sacramento, California.

"Of the endless awards Wayne received, teaching is what really matters to him," said Manetti Shrem founding director Rachel Teagle to writer Catherine Bigelow in Nob Hill Gazette. "He found his voice during a volatile era in the art world. Painting, as a medium and practice, was dead. But Wayne saw painting as a serious intellectual pursuit and championed a new path forward."

Jason Stopa, Red Cup, Ice, 2014. Oil and enamel on canvas, 36 x 36 in. (91.44 x 91.44 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Monica King Contemporary. © Jason Stopa.
Jason Stopa, Red Cup, Ice, 2014. Oil and enamel on canvas, 36 x 36 in. (91.44 x 91.44 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Monica King Contemporary. © Jason Stopa.

Through June 13, 2021, works by contemporary artists who have been inspired by Thiebaud as a fellow painter as well as former students are presented in Wayne Thiebaud Influencer: A New Generation at the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art, and is curated by Teagle and Susie Kantor. This museum at UC Davis debuted in 2016 with a number of donations from Thiebaud, including his Unfinished Portrait of Betty Jean, not dated; Yosemite, 1969-2010; Grey City, 2000-2010; and Three Treats, c. 1975-76.

Pairings in the Manetti Shrem exhibition explore how Thiebaud forecast the future of painting through his personal journey to find meaning and reinvention in the medium’s history, in ways that are both current and timeless. Along with Thiebaud's work, artists featured include a number of his former students and acolytes: Andrea Bowers, Julie Bozzi, Christopher Brown, Robert Colescott, Gene Cooper, Richard Crozier, April Glory Funcke, Fredric Hope, Alex Israel, Grace Munakata, Bruce Nauman, Jason Stopa, Vonn Cummings Sumner, Ann Harrold Taylor, Michael Tompkins, Clay Vorhes, Patricia Wall, Jonas Wood and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.

Beyond UC Davis, Thiebaud taught at Sacramento Junior College, later becoming chair of the art department. He is a recipient of the National Medal of Arts (1994) and the Gold Medal for Painting from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (2017).

Visit the Manetti Shrem Museum website to view the video An Exhibition in Progress to see behind-the-scenes in the making of this Thiebaud show.

To catch the Crocker's Wayne Thiebaud 100 traveling retrospective, see the website schedules for the Toledo Museum of Art, OH. (through May 2, 2021); the Dixon Gallery and Gardens in Memphis, TN; the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, TX; and Brandywine Museum of Art in Chadds Ford, PA.