“No one did more to reanimate the tired old genre of still life painting in the last half century than did Mr Thiebaud with his paintings of industrially regimented food products.” (NYT, 2004) In 2000, Thiebaud told PBS’ NewsHour with Jim Lehrer that the subject of food was “fun and humorous, and that’s dangerous in the art world, I think. It’s a world that takes itself very seriously, and of course, it is a serious enterprise, but I think also there’s room for wit and humor because humor gives us, I think, a sense of perspective.” Thiebaud said gum ball machines were a favorite theme because “a big round globe is so beautiful, and it’s really a kind of orchestration of circles of all kinds. But it’s also very sensuous, I think, and it offers wonderful opportunities for painting something like, almost like a bouquet of flowers.” “I must say I never really liked pop art very much.” Unlike pop art, Thiebaud’s luscious colorful paintings seemed to be about the paint itself. He applied the paint so heavily that he would often carve his signature into it instead of painting it on with a brush. A lifelong teacher, Mr. Thiebaud valued the craftsmanship of academic painting. This approach linked him to past Americans like Thomas Eakins, John James Audubon, Jean-Siméon Chardin, and Giorgio Morandi, whose images were also held together by the strictest geometry. He was inspired by everything from Mickey Mouse to Joaquín Sorolla. He met Willem de Kooning in the 50’s and connected with the New York School (later the New York Studio School). His mid career figurative works connected him with the Bay Area painters such as David Park and Richard Diebenkorn. Edward Hopper was said to inhabit the melancholy of his figures. The effect, Mr. Thiebaud once said, was meant to be like seeing a stranger “in some place like an air terminal for the first time: you look at him, you notice his shoes, his suit, the pin in his lapel but you don’t have any particular feelings about him.” Wayne Thiebaud, Woman in Tub (1965)oil on canvas, 35.7 x 60″ His late career landscapes were fields and rivers painted from a bird’s eye view. These were based on distant memories from his childhood in Utah combined with his current home in the Sacramento Valley, with Monet and Chinese painting in the mix. “Even at 101 years old, he still spent most days in the studio, driven by, as he described with his characteristic humility, ‘this almost neurotic fixation of trying to learn to paint’,” in a statement by his gallery, Acquavella. “It has never ceased to thrill and amaze me,” he said, “the magic of what happens when you put one bit of paint next to another.