Wayne Thiebaud (b. 1920) was born in Mesa, Arizona but his family moved a year after his birth to Long Beach, CA. He worked as a cartoonist and designer in California and New York (1938-1949). He served as an artist in the First Motion Picture Unit of the United States Army Air Forces from 1942 to 1945. In 1949 he enrolled at Sacramento State College (now California State University, Sacramento) where he earned his bachelor and master degrees. He subsequently began teaching as an assistant professor at the University of California, Davis (1960-1991). During a leave of absence from teaching, he went to New York City where he first saw the work of Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns, and befriended Willem de Kooning and Franz Kline.
Upon his return to California Thiebauld began to paint isolated objects of food he had seen in windows of diners and cafeterias. In 1961 he met Allan Stone who was his dealer and one of his biggest collectors until Stone’s death in 2006. Thiebauld’s work is characterized by heavy pigment and exaggerated color. His subject matter is often associated with Pop Art; however, he does not identify with the ideas of Pop Art and describes himself as “just an old fashioned painter.” Besides painting pastries, he’s known for his paintings and prints of cityscapes, landscapes, and streetscapes.
Thiebaud's works are in permanent collections at Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA; Whitney Museum of American Art, NY; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.; the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA; Phoenix Art Museum, AZ, Nelson-Atkins Art Museum, Kansas City, MO; and many other institutions.