Wayne Thiebaud - Editions & Works on Paper New York Friday, July 24, 2020 | Phillips

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  • Catalogue Essay

    Including: Lunch, Fish, Banana Splits, Cherry Stand, Bacon and Eggs, Double Deckers, Lunch Counter, Dispensers, Gum Machine, Lemon Meringue, Suckers, Candied Apples, Cake Window, Club Sandwich, Pies, Delicatessen, and Olives

    “I love doing prints,” professed acclaimed artist Wayne Thiebaud in 1997 during a talk at the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC. Thiebaud reminisced that his first etchings were made by “taking a piece of plastic, scratching on it and then running it through an old-fashioned washing machine wringer.” Thiebaud’s “scratches” have since grown into sophisticated etchings that explore the artist’s signature imagery on paper. The seventeen etchings of Delights showcase a mastery of medium and mark an important achievement in the artist’s oeuvre. Formatted as a book, inherent to half the edition, Delights is an homage to life’s simple pleasures. The jaunty gumball machine, hearty diner breakfast, and immaculate slice of cake depicted in these pages appear just like their namesake, total delights.

    Printed in 1964 and published in 1965, Delights was an early endeavor for Crown Point Press and its founder, master printer Kathan Brown. After seeing an exhibition of Thiebaud’s paintings in San Francisco, not knowing the artist, Brown invited him to her printshop to make an artist’s book. There, Thiebaud delved into etchings that explored the iconography of his paintings through a new medium. Delights marked the beginning of a more than 50-year printmaking partnership for Thiebaud at Crown Point Press where he has created over 100 different images.

    With an emphasis on edges and negative space, Thiebaud's prints appeal to the eye through rudimentary forms. The stark contrast of black ink on white paper follows the traditional arc of Thiebaud’s graphic works. The fine lines, spare in certain areas and brimming with cross-hatched details in others, are at first direct, later revealing immense depth and solid form. The structure of Thiebaud’s images speaks to his ability to construct, in great detail, the candid compositions of our daily lives.

    Thiebaud created the seventeen etchings for Delights to handsomely document and enhance the appreciation of our existence. “We are hesitant to make our own life special ... set our still lifes aside,” wrote Thiebaud in Is a Lollipop Tree Worth Painting, San Francisco Chronicle, 1962. “If we sentimentalize or adopt a posture more polite than our own,” he continued, “we are not having a real look at ourselves for what we are.”



The complete set of 17 etchings (some with aquatint and drypoint), on Rives BFK paper, with full margins, bound (as issued) in a black leather hard cover with gold printed title.
Bound Book 13 1/4 x 11 3/8 x 3/4 in. (33.7 x 28.9 x 1.9 cm)
All signed, titled, dated and numbered 70/100 in pencil (50 from the edition were unbound), additionally signed and dated '2014' in blue ink and with a hand-drawn heart in red ink on an inside sheet, published by Crown Point Press, Berkeley, California.

$60,000 - 90,000 

Sold for $293,750

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Kelly Troester
Worldwide Co-Head of Editions, Modern
+1 212 940 1221

Cary Leibowitz
Worldwide Co-Head of Editions, Contemporary
1 212 940 1222

Editions & Works on Paper

New York Auction 23 - 24 July 2020