From: Crocker Art Museum Limited Edition: 4 Exhibition: Wayne Thiebaud: Homecoming Material: Printed vinyl Dimensions: 30" x 95" (76cm x 241cm)
Hanging Hardware Included
"She's a Very Good Sport" …So said Wayne Thiebaud of Betty Jean, his wife and muse of 50-plus years. The couple met at a Newspaper Guild ball in Sacramento and from then on, she was depicted in many lights and poses throughout his career. This painting, Betty Jean Thiebaud and Book was used on a banner by the Crocker Art Museum to promote the artist’s exhibition, Homecomings, during the Fall of 2010.
Though thought to be influential in the development of Pop Art, Thiebaud’s work was less about mechanical reproduction like that of Pop artists Andy Warhol (think Campbell’s soup cans) and James Rosenquist, and more about intricate representation in a classical sense. Maybe that’s why Thiebaud turned to figure drawing and California landscapes soon after the Pop Art movement got its footing?
The Fall of 2010 was a special time for both the Crocker Art Museum and Wayne Thiebaud. The museum reopened with an expansion that tripled the gallery space, celebrated its 125th anniversary, and featured several special exhibitions, including Thiebaud’s Homecoming. The artist had his first solo exhibition at the museum in 1951 and remains Sacramento’s most renowned artist. The icing on the cake? Just a month after the 10-10-10 opening, Thiebaud celebrated his 90th birthday.
Homecoming included 50 paintings and drawings that spanned Thiebaud’s career, from early works to paintings hot off the easel in 2010. Alongside his famous desserts were his paintings of Sacramento’s people and landscapes, including those of his wife, Betty Jean, and river-delta views, some of which had not been shown previously. Other Thiebaud work was also on view in the Crocker’s permanent collection galleries and in the concurrent exhibition Tomorrow’s Legacies: Gifts Celebrating the Next 125 Years, which included works promised to the museum.
Two of Thiebaud’s paintings were used on banners to promote the Homecoming exhibition: Boston Cremes (1962) and Betty Jean Thiebaud and Book (1965-69). Betty Jean Thiebaud and Book was completed seven years after the artist got his first big break. The Allan Stone Gallery in New York held a sellout Thiebaud exhibition in 1962. That same year, the artist showed at another exhibition, this time at the Pasadena Art Museum with Pop icons Roy Lichenstein and Andy Warhol. He never identified with Pop Art though his work was considered influential to the movement. Thiebaud moved beyond the Pop fad as the 1960s wore on, applying the same exactitude that he exercised with his dessert paintings to figure painting and California landscapes. His details were calculated and crisp as he showed us with Betty Jean. In this painting, Thiebaud painted his wife against a neutral background with a subtle palette, both of which serve to open up the work and establish a painterly importance. His signature (reproduced) appears at the bottom of the banner, “Thiebaud 1968 - 69” accompanied by a small heart. On this banner, Betty Jean Thiebaud and Book appears in closeup on both sides with no text. The identical image appears on both sides of the banner. Click here to view the other banner used to promote Homecoming featuring Boston Cremes.
This banner was displayed around the Sacramento area between October 10, 2010 and November 28, 2010.