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Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art

4415 Warwick Boulevard
Kansas City, Missouri

Phone: 816 561 3737 -- 816 753-5784

Statement of Purpose:

Contemporary works by international artists and designers.

Highlights & Collections:


Wayne Thiebaud: Fifty Years of Painting
June 6-August 31, 2003

The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art celebrates California artist Wayne Thiebaud's prodigious career with the exhibition "Wayne Thiebaud: Fifty Years of Painting." Highlighting the work of this profoundly influential and inventive painter of landscapes, cityscapes, still lifes, and portraits, the exhibition presents more than forty works from the past five decades. It also demonstrates Wayne Thiebaud's contributions to American popular culture and art history. The exhibition is on view June 6-August 31, 2003, at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, where Wayne Thiebaud is an artist in residence.

The exhibition is drawn mainly from Thiebaud's family collection, providing insight into what the artist decided to keep in his collection. Also included are works from Midwestern public and private collections.

Thiebaud has painted bountiful arrangements since the 1960s. Renowned for his images of cakes, pies, gumballs, and other confections, he also explores color, lighting, and arrangement of mass-produced, commercial objects, including shoes, toys, flowers, and cosmetics. H is still-life paintings celebrate the shapes and colors of what most of us perceive as ordinary, like the playful stack of bow ties in "Bow Tie Tree" (1969) or the culinary delights in "Cakes & Pies" (1994-95). Thiebaud experiments with his arrangements. Sometimes he makes one object monumental, and at other times, he places dozens of items in orderly rows.

Since the early 1970s, the rolling streets of San Francisco and its surrounding communities have captured his attention. He has translated them into dynamic cityscapes, including "Intersection" (1973), one of his first cityscapes, and his recent "Valley Streets" (2003). Thiebaud exaggerates the steep hills and skyscrapers by featuring extreme perspectives of the city. This same exaggerated view is reiterated in Thiebaud's fertile California landscapes. Visitors may study the plunging cliffs and sweeping landscapes of northern California in works such as "Heart Ridge" (1969) and "Green River Lands" (1998).

Thiebaud also works with portraits like his contemporaries Alex Katz and Philip Pearlstein. He paints monumental portraits of family members and friends in settings where there are no backgrounds and other forms of context. While the portraits are seemingly spare, viewers still find his dynamic palette of blues, yellows, reds, and pinks.

Wayne Thiebaud first began his career as a cartoonist and layout designer for Rexall Drug Company in the late 1 940s. He began teaching in 1951 at Sacramento Junior College (now Sacramento City College). For nearly three decades, Thiebaud taught at the University of California, Davis, along with well-known California artists William Wiley, Manuel Neri, and Robert Arneson. Like his students, Thiebaud experiments. As a teacher and artist, Theibaud draws influence from art history, including Dutch painter Jan Vermeer, French painters Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin and Edgar Degas, and American painter Edward Hopper. With more than fifty years of creativity, Thiebaud inspires future generations of artists.

A catalogue for the exhibition "Wayne Thiebaud: Fifty Years of Painting" will feature color plates of works in the exhibition as well as an interview with Wayne Thiebaud.

Museum admission is free.


Tu-F: 10-4; Sa: 10-5; Su: 12-5.

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