Annals of art: Thiebaud’s Thanksgiving turkey

On the cover of the 11/25 issue of the New Yorker, Wayne Thiebaud’s “Stuffed”:


Accompanied by a cover story by Françoise Mouly from 11/18/19, a charming interview with the 99-year-old artist.

(Other Thiebaud food covers for the magazine: “Jolly Cones” 8/19&26/02, “Harvest Display” 11/24/08, “Pumpkin Cloud” 11/23/09.)

The intro to the interview:

At ninety-nine, Wayne Thiebaud — one of America’s greatest painters, and certainly its premier painter of food — is still going strong. This is Thiebaud’s ninth cover for the magazine, and it riffs on one of his previous paintings, an image of a turkey that he started in 2009. A sharp viewer might pick out the added details and embellishments, but more striking, perhaps, are the Thiebaud hallmarks that remain the same: soft light, clear color, a blue shadow pooling around a plate. We recently called Thiebaud at his home, in Sacramento, to talk about his work.

From the interview, WT talking about cartooning:

I probably submitted as many as two to three hundred cartoons to the magazine —  they were never accepted! But I’m a big fan of cartoonists, and even collect original cartoons. Some of my heroes are George Price, Helen Hokinson, Peter Arno. I could probably name another twenty or thirty.

I came to New York in 1946, after getting out of the service, specifically to try to sell cartoons. And I sold to trade magazines, but I could never make it in The New Yorker — you people have too high a standard! At one point, I had a conversation with John Updike, who had been a cartoonist at the Harvard Lampoon, and we both cried together about never being able to get our stuff into The New Yorker.

From his early cartooning period, a rough drawing (not inked) from 1950:

(#2) (from a gallery listing for the drawing)

And then, much later (from 1988), an homage to Disney:

(#2) WT’s Mickey Mouse

See my 12/5/16 posting “Wayne Thiebaud” on the artist, his still lifes (especially of food), California landscapes and cityscapes, and portraiture (often reminiscent of Edward Hopper).

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