Galleries — Have It Your Way

Wayne Thiebaud serves up 70 years of abundance at the Palm Springs Art Museum.



Known for applying thick layers of paint like so much icing on the cakes and desserts that made his still-life paintings famous, Wayne Thiebaud (born 1920) occupies a populist place in American art history.

The survey exhibition Wayne Thiebaud: 70 Years of Painting (Feb. 11-May 17) includes more than 100 works demonstrating the evolution of the artist’s personal artistic vision, exploring close-to-home subjects and stylistic variations that consistently blend realism and abstraction in a painterly fashion and with sensuous movement of oils and pastels.

Thiebaud also has specialized in large-scale portraits, studies of Northern California landscape, and cityscapes featuring San Francisco’s vertiginous geometry of streets and sidewalks.

“It was the cafeteria-type foods, of course, the cakes, pies, ice creams, hamburgers, hotdogs, canapes, club sandwiches, and other staples of the American diet — all of which have a stereotypical this-can-be-found-anywhere-in-the-country-but-only-in-this-country quality — that brought Thiebaud most of his early notoriety,” museum Director Steven Nash wrote in Wayne Thiebaud: A Paintings Retrospective (Thames & Hudson, 2000). “This signature style of Thiebaud’s paint handling — the rich, smooth dragging of paint across a surface or around a shape in a way that both proclaims the luscious texture of oils and often transforms itself into the very material being depicted, from frosting or whipped cream to metal — is referred to by the artist as ‘object transference.’”

Thiebaud’s paintings, Nash says, “also comment on the abundance that is part of American society and the longing or desires that go with it: desserts lined up in rows stretching far into the distance like trees in a landscape but held separate from the viewer by the glass of window or case.”

Bruce Cohen — Imago Galleries, Palm Desert

Generally associated with contemporary realism (a movement that reacted to Abstract Expressionism that once prevailed in postwar U.S. art), Santa Monica painter Bruce Cohen stands out in the genre for his meticulous compartmentalization and use of light and shadow. Precision, juxtaposition of muted and bright colors, and curious open doors and windows distinguish his canvases.

Charlie Bidwell — Exposure Gallery, Palm Springs

A master of using negative space in his photographic compositions, Bidwell is best known for his Americana images of 1950s signs and billboards. Familiar with many works reflecting iconic Southern California views (the Hollywood sign and the Ferris wheel in Santa Monica, for example), we’re eager to see his new work: a series of black-and-white abstract photographs involving alternative processing systems.

Theodore Waddell — J. Willot Gallery, Palm Desert

Abstraction of the human figure came to define so much Modern art. Waddell, a Montana rancher who makes cattle and horses his subjects, renders these figures in Post-Impressionist landscapes, with thick strokes of paint, resulting in canvases that resolve classic figure/ground relationships in a style that appeals beyond traditional Western painting. His paintings’ crossover appeal power his exhibition history, which spans more than 40 years.

Comments to this website are moderated by staff. While all comments are welcome, we encourage all to be polite and please do not use this system for advertising or business promotions. Any complaint towards a business or service should be directed directly to that business and not posted here. If anyone has a complaint that a comment is defamatory, please contact me at tmay@palmspringslife.com and I will take appropriate action promptly. Thank You

Add your comment:
Edit Module
Palm Springs Life
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

Desert by Design

Palm Desert architect Guy Dreier’s nature-inspired approach to residential design was an ideal fit when The Vintage Club made its debut in 1980 at the foot of Eisenhower Mountain.

Win Tickets to Screenings at the Palm Springs International Film Festival

Win a 6-pack of tickets to the upcoming Palm Springs International Film Festival by correctly guessing which of these stars to be honored at the Awards Gala will grace the January 2015 cover of Palm Springs Life magazine.

Holiday Dining Reaches New Heights at Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

If you are searching for a special dining experience over the Christmas and New Year’s holiday season, perhaps you should look up to the Peaks Restaurant atop the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.

Leeds & Son Fine Jewelers One Night Only Event - Dec. 11, 2014

Customers and guests shared in a fun-filled by invitation only event including shopping, holiday cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, new collections and special pricing throughout the store.

The Palm Springs Hotel Reflects History, Design of Yesteryear

The Palm Springs Hotel, a renovated 1950s property, is a striking mix of midcentury modern meets industrial chic with a bit of European flair. Think clean lines, ceramic tiles, and adorable Parisian inspired cafe tables.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions + Contests

Cartoon Caption Contest

Cartoon Caption Contest

Each month, we provide a vintage 1950’s cartoon illustrated by Alice Rovinsky. You are invited to submit a caption or vote for your favorite caption.
Fashionista Friends

Fashionista Friends

Experience the glitz and glamour of Fashion Week El Paseo 2015.
2014/15 Best of the Best

2014/15 Best of the Best

Palm Springs Life’s annual Best of the Best. Readers tell us who their choice is for the “Best of the Best” of the Coachella Valley in over 40 categories.