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Wayne Thiebaud landscape to be offered in Phillips' Evening Sale of 20th Century & Contemporary Art
Wayne Thiebaud, Winding River, 2002, Estimate: $6,000,000 - 8,000,000. Image courtesy of Phillips.

NEW YORK, NY.- Phillips announced Wayne Thiebaud’s outstanding landscape Winding River as one of the star lots in the upcoming Evening Sale of 20th Century and Contemporary Art, taking place on 23 June from the auction house’s new state-of-the-art gallery and auction space at 432 Park Avenue.

Thiebaud’s Winding River encapsulates the artist’s longstanding reverence for the Sacramento River Delta in California. Capturing a sinuous river meandering through the agricultural valleys of the California countryside, Winding River situates Thiebaud within the rich lineage of American landscape painting while showcasing his mastery of referencing myriad sources from the art historical tradition in his virtuosic handling and singular painterly language.

A striking departure from his San Francisco cityscapes, Thiebaud’s captivating riverscapes are drawn from the artist’s early life experiences farming in Southern Utah and his boyhood memories of living on his grandfather’s farm. Although the artist turned to portraying the Sacramento River Delta beginning in the late 1990s, his sustained interest in the subject has become a lifelong endeavor continuing through the present day. Much like his well-known still lifes of delicious confections, his rural landscapes of California emanate a sense of nostalgia and an embrace of Americana, but stand apart from Thiebaud’s baked treats by conjuring the serenity of nature undisturbed.

Displaying Thiebaud’s signature halo effect, Winding River showcases the glowing hue along the river contrasted with both muted and vibrant pastel tones that render the trees and plains. This technique lends itself to the vibrant, staccato pulsations throughout the composition that work together with the melancholic pastel hues to emanate a sensuous, serene sense of nostalgia. At the same time, it also showcases how Thiebaud adeptly composites various seasons and times of day within a single image to instill the character of nature into the painting.

Through the dynamic interplay between striking impasto, bold curving lines and monosyllabic strokes, the present work manifests a visual tension between realism and abstraction. By suggesting the sensuous surfaces of his pastries into his rendering of the vast American terrain, Winding River presents Thiebaud’s Sacramento Delta as a vision of the sublime that is entirely his own.

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