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Wayne Thiebaud: Cityscapes

Wayne Thiebaud: Cityscapes

Exhibition catalog with an interview with the artist by Richard Wollheim. 52 pages with color reproductions. Published by Campbell-Thiebaud Gallery, San Francisco, 1993. From the interview: "I've always painted out-of-doors, with a French easel, some in the city, but not very much. So I started from the San Francisco intersection, and I remember one time painting on the street, and a nice man came along, an older fellow, and he stayed longer than most people would, and he watched, and finally he couldn't resist, and he said, 'I'll be God-damned. You are painting the intersection.' He couldn't believe it. So I knew from the beginning that I was in trouble. After painting directly on the street, and making 20 or 30 pictures that way, I felt none of them were very successful. The reason for not feeling that they were delivering on what I had hoped for had to do with some sort of dramatic feeling in this peculiar San Francisco landscape, and the on-site works weren't reflecting this. And, during this time, I had a chance to talk to the critic Brian O'Doherty, and he was relating to me how Edward Hopper worked on his city pictures. He made lots of different sketches, watercolors, drawings, and then he put them together, like a stage set. So I thought I would try that and see if it might help. I went back to the studio, and began to make a lot of drawings with graphite or charcoal on paper, which I could move around a lot, kind of playing around with them. These drawings seemed to offer more the kind of visual and physical feeling that was closer to the idea of San Francisco. So, when I returned to painting again, the city itself looked more like the composite drawings I had been making. And that dialogue between what was actually there and what was made up became the basis of the entire series. So in a sense, these early examples were an initiation into the project. [The artist refers to paintings in the exhibition that were dated about 1973 and were among the first of the cityscape series, which were executed over more than a twenty-year period.]"

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