Acquavella Galleries opens "Wayne Thiebaud: Summer Days"
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Acquavella Galleries opens "Wayne Thiebaud: Summer Days"
"[My subject matter] was a genuine sort of experience that came out of my life, particularly the American world in which I was privileged to be. It just seemed to be the most genuine thing which I had done." - Wayne Thiebaud

NEW YORK, NY.- Acquavella Galleries is exhibiting Wayne Thiebaud: Summer Days, the first show of the artist’s work in New York since he passed away on December 25, 2021. Presented in collaboration with the Wayne Thiebaud Foundation, the exhibition includes paintings spanning six decades of the artist’s career, from 1959 through 2021. The show will be on view through June 14th in the New York gallery.

The show is organized around the theme of summer, highlighting the artist’s interest in the season’s delights, from its sweet ice creams and chilled soda pops to beach games and barbecues. In his paintings, an American nostalgia gently welcomes the viewer into the season’s space.

Born in Mesa, Arizona in 1920, Thiebaud grew up in Long Beach, California. The beach played a formative role in his childhood, with the artist finding work as a lifeguard, selling papers on the beach, and at a café called “Mile High and Red Hot,” named for its “mile-high” stacked ice-creams and hot dogs. After working as a commercial artist and studying fine art under the G.I. Bill, Thiebaud gained national renown for his paintings in the early 1960s following his debut solo show in New York in 1962. He painted quintessentially American, everyday objects in vivid colors—such as cakes and pies, hot dogs and hamburgers, gumballs and lollipops, and jackpot machines.

Since he painted everyday themes, Thiebaud was often associated with the burgeoning Pop art movement—though he felt at odds with the artists’ embrace of commercial techniques and mass-produced, branded objects. Thiebaud instead preferred to describe himself as a traditional painter of illusionistic forms, repeatedly tackling familiar subjects to challenge and explore the formal possibilities of painting. His meticulously crafted surfaces are steeped with art historical references and a subtle sense of longing.

Titled Summer Days, this show offers a nostalgic look at American life passing through the heat of the summer season. Candy-colored impasto, dramatically cast shadows, and an innovative use of perspective define the formal rigor of Thiebaud's artworks depicting cakes, ice creams, bathing suits, and beach scenes. In Summer Days, the artist’s paintings play with both present and past, tasking the viewer to relax amongst scenes of warmth, indulgence, and distant serenity.

The exhibition is open from Monday-Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm for the duration of the show. The gallery will be closed on Saturday May 25th and Monday May 27th for Memorial Day Weekend.

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