Wayne Thiebaud, 1975 / Mimi Jacobs, photographer. [Photographs of artists taken by Mimi Jacobs, photographer], Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution

Famous for his images of popular consumer items, Wayne Thiebaud, born 1920, pursued a range of creative occupations before enrolling in postgraduate study at Sacramento State College at the age of 30. Prior to this artistic training he worked as a cartoonist and graphic designer, an artist in the US Navy, an apprentice in the Walt Disney Studios and even in the food industry—all of which are reflected in his apparently ironic interest in commonplace subject matter. Thiebaud was included in the seminal 1962 Pop Art exhibition New painting of common objects at Pasadena Art Museum, alongside Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and others.

The artist first took up printmaking in 1964, and the 1968 prints in the National Gallery’s Kenneth Tyler Collection are typical of his strong, repetitive compositions and fascination with familiar, everyday objects. Wayne Thiebaud has remained active in the arts community throughout his career, as a mentor, teacher and member of various artists’ cooperatives.
Gwen Horsfield


Born Messa, Arizona, United States of America

Attends Frank Wiggans Trade School, Los Angeles

Works as freelance cartoonist

Receives commendation at Artists under 33, Los Angeles Art Association

Designs sets for The Heiress, California State University, Sacramento

Completes Bachelor of Arts, California State University, Sacramento First solo exhibition, Influences on a young painter, EB Crocker Art Gallery, Sacramento

Teaches Art, Art Appreciation, Art History, Film Making, Television Production at Sacramento City College, California

Completes Master of Arts, California State University, Sacramento

Solo exhibition, Wayne Thiebaud, Gump’s Gallery, San Francisco

Wins Osburn Cunningham Award for SMUD Building, Sacramento

Works as Professor of Art, University of California, Davis

Solo exhibition, Wayne Thiebaud, Allan Stone Gallery, New YorkWins University of California Faculty FellowshipIncluded in exhibition, The new realists, Sidney Janis Gallery, New York

Receives research grant at University of California Research Institute

Solo exhibition, Figures: Wayne Thiebaud, Stanford University Art Gallery, California

Included in Environments USA 1957-1967, Biennial of São-Paulo, Brazil

Solo exhibition, Wayne Thiebaud: artist in mid career, Pasadena Art Museum, Los AngelesReceives commission for Wimbeldon Tennis Tournament, London, EnglandCompletes edition of lithographs Suckers State I and Suckers State II, at Gemini GEL, Los Angeles, California

Included in exhibition, Kompas 4-West Coast USA, Stedlijk van Abbemuseum, The Netherlands

Solo exhibition, Wayne Thiebaud: Graphics: 1964-1971, Whitney Museum for American Art, New York

Travelling solo exhibition, Wayne Thiebaud: survey of painting 1950-1972, originating at California State University Long Beach Art Galleries, Los Angeles; included in Documenta 5, Kassel, West Germany

Travelling solo exhibition, Wayne Thiebaud: survey 1946-1976, Phoenix Art Museum, Arizona; included in exhibition, 30 years of American printmaking, Brooklyn Museum, New York

Included in travelling exhibition, Representations of America, Alexander Pushkin Museum, Moscow, USSR

Included in travelling exhibition, Documents, drawings, collages, originating at Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, Massachusetts,

Travelling solo exhibition, Wayne Thiebaud: painting, originating at Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis; included in exhibition, Biennial exhibition, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Contemporary American Realism, originating at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia

Travelling solo exhibitions, Wayne Thiebaud: prints, originating at Gallery Hiro, Tokyo

Included in exhibitions, American Artist as Printmaker, The Brooklyn Art Museum, New York, World Print Four, originating at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CaliforniaTravels to Japan to work with traditional Japanese woodblock printers

Travelling solo exhibition, Wayne Thiebaud, organised by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California

Travelling solo exhibition, Wayne Thiebaud: works on paper 1947-1987, organised by the Richard L. Nelson Gallery, University of California, Davis

Solo exhibition, Thiebaud at Seventy: a retrospective selection of paintings, drawings, watercolous, and prints including new work, Hearst Art Gallery, Saint Mary’s College, Moraga, California

Receives Grumbacher Gold Medallion Award for Painting from the American Academy of Design, New York

Receives National Medal for the Arts from President Clinton

Travelling solo exhibition, A paintings retrospective, organised by the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, CaliforniaReceives medal for Painting from the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, New York

Travelling solo exhibition, Wayne Thiebaud: works from 1955-2003, originating at the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art, Pepperdine University, California

Solo exhibitions, Wayne Thiebaud since 1962, Allan Stone Gallery, New York; Wayne Thiebaud: works on paper 1960-2000, South Dakota Museum, South Dakota

Travelling retrospective, Wayne Thiebaud: 70 years of painting, originating at Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach, California; solo exhibitions: Wayne Thiebaud: hand coloured prints and monotypes, at Paul Thiebaud Gallery, San Francisco, California; Wayne Thiebaud: recent work, at Paul Thiebaud Gallery, New York City

Solo exhibition, Wayne Thiebaud: the figure, at Allan Stone Gallery, New York City

Solo exhibitions: Wayne Thiebaud: confection memories, at Paul Thiebaud Gallery, San Francisco, California; Sweets & treats: Wayne Thiebaud in the collection of the Norton Simon Museum, at Norton Simon Museum of Art, Pasadena, California; Wayne Thiebaud, at Faggionato Fine Arts, London, England; Wayne Thiebaud: works on paper, at Sacramento State University Library Gallery, Sacramento, California

Retrospective, Wayne Thiebaud: homecoming, at Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, California; solo exhibitions: Wayne Thiebaud: charcoal still lifes 1964 – 1974, at Lawrence Markey, San Antonio, Texas; Wayne Thiebaud: mountains, at Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico; inducted into the California Hall of Fame

Solo exhibition, Wayne Thiebaud at Museo Morandi, at Istituzione Galleria d'Arte Moderna di Bologna, Bologna, Italy

Retrospective, Wayne Thiebaud: a retrospective, at Acquavella Galleries, New York City

Solo exhibition, Wayne Thiebaud: memory mountains, at Paul Thiebaud Gallery, San Francisco, California; receives California Art Award

Wayne Thiebaud currently lives and works in Sacramento, California.

© Tyler Graphics Ltd., revised Kate Buckingham, 2007; revised Julia Greenstreet, 2013

This chronology provides an overview of selected biographical information, major solo and group exhibitions held within the artist's own lifetime.

Further information will be added to this site as the National Gallery proceeds with its research and documentation.

Last updated January 2017