Wayne Thiebaud, Draftsman at The Morgan Library & Museum, May 18 – September 23, 2018

“Best known for his rich, colorful paintings of cakes, ice cream cones, and candy counters, California artist Wayne Thiebaud (b. 1920) has been an avid and prolific draftsman since he began his career as an illustrator and cartoonist. Featuring subjects that range from deli counters and solitary figures to dramatic views of San Francisco’s plunging streets, Thiebaud’s drawings endow the most common objects and everyday scenes with a sense of poetry and nostalgia.

Wayne Thiebaud, Draftsman is the first exhibition to explore the full scope of the artist’s works on paper, including quick sketches, finished pastels, watercolors, and charcoal drawings. The earliest of the almost eighty-five works on view are cartoons from the 1940s, while the most recent feature landscape drawings inspired by the Sacramento River valley.” — Morgan Library

One day Kathan brought down lunch, which was a cheese sandwich, a couple of olives, and a beer, and I said, “Before we eat that, I think I’ll draw it.” — Wayne Thiebaud

Installation view of “Early Drawings”. Photo by Corrado Serra for Arts Summary

Installation view of “Early Drawings”. Photo by Corrado Serra for Arts Summary

Installation view of “Foodstuff”. Photo by Corrado Serra for Arts Summary

Installation view of “Foodstuff”. Photo by Corrado Serra for Arts Summary

Candy Sticks, 1964, watercolor and graphite. Yale University Art Gallery, Bequest of Susan Morse Hilles. © Wayne Thiebaud/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

Installation view of “Jelly Apples”. Photo by Corrado Serra for Arts Summary

Nine Jelly Apples, 1964, watercolor and graphite. Yale University Art Gallery, Gift of George Hopper Fitch, B.A. 1932. Photography by Tony De Camillo. © Wayne Thiebaud/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

Installation view. Photo by Corrado Serra for Arts Summary

Installation view of “Sketches”. Photo by Corrado Serra for Arts Summary

Page of Sketches with Ties, 1960s–70s, pen and ink and pastel. From the artist’s studio. © Wayne Thiebaud/ Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

Page of Sketches with Movie Billboard, ca. 1990s, pen and ink. From the artist’s studio. © Wayne Thiebaud/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

Installation view of “Tradition”. Photo by Corrado Serra for Arts Summary

Installation view of “Tradition”. Photo by Corrado Serra for Arts Summary

Toys, 1971, charcoal. From the artist’s studio. © Wayne Thiebaud/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

Installation view. Photo by Corrado Serra for Arts Summary

Candy Ball Machine, 1977, gouache and pastel. Collection of Gretchen and John Berggruen, San Francisco. © Wayne Thiebaud/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

Installation view. Photo by Corrado Serra for Arts Summary

Installation view. Photo by Corrado Serra for Arts Summary

Installation view of “Cityscapes and Landscapes”. Photo by Corrado Serra for Arts Summary

Three Roads, 1983, charcoal. Private collection. © Wayne Thiebaud/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

Installation view of “Cityscapes and Landscapes”. Photo by Corrado Serra for Arts Summary

Installation view of “Cityscapes and Landscapes”. Photo by Corrado Serra for Arts Summary

Installation view of “Cityscapes and Landscapes”. Photo by Corrado Serra for Arts Summary

Installation view of “Cityscapes and Landscapes”. Photo by Corrado Serra for Arts Summary

Study for Brown River, 2002, charcoal. From the artist’s studio. © Wayne Thiebaud/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

“The Morgan is delighted to present this groundbreaking exhibition,” said Colin B. Bailey, director of the museum. “Understanding the importance of drawing in Wayne Thiebaud’s career is fundamental to understanding his art and his artistic development. Throughout the exhibition, Thiebaud’s ability to find inspiration in the prosaic and familiar is on vivid display. The Morgan is deeply grateful to the artist for his cooperation in the organization of the exhibition and for his generosity in agreeing to lend so many works to it.” 

Wayne Thiebaud, Draftsman is organized by the Morgan Library & Museum, New York. The curator of the exhibition is Isabelle Dervaux, Acquavella Curator and Department Head, Modern and Contemporary Drawings, the Morgan Library & Museum.