The Luscious Geometry of Wayne Thiebaud

Wayne Thiebaud, Peppermint Counter, 1963. Oil on canvas. 28 x 37 5/8 inches (71.1 x 95.6 cm). (Private Collection. © 2021 Wayne Thiebaud / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society [ARS], NY)
Considering the painter’s place in the American art continuum

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE W ayne Thiebaud died on December 25, at the age of 101. He was among the best-known American artists, if not by name then certainly by his chromatically dynamic paintings of hot dogs, pies, gumball machines, heaping ice-cream cones, and cakes with swirls and waves of frosting. Thiebaud did more than tasty delectables. He was an exceptional figure painter and portraitist and did landscapes and cityscapes.

He was what I call a zaftik painter. It’s a term so precise and correct it’s one of my few stabs at Yiddish. In German, saftig means “juicy,” but its Yiddish cousin aims the word at

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