Fullerton College Centennial


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Wayne Thiebaud was the first Artist-in-Residence at Fullerton College when the program was instituted in 1972. Already a successful artist and associated with the Pop Art Movement, he spent one week on campus demonstrating his work and lecturing on painting techniques. During his residency Thiebaud donated his painting Penny Machines, to kick-start its then-new permanent art collection. Thiebaud is well-known for his still life images of food and sweets in bright pastels with thick strokes.

The idealization of food may stem from his being a teenager in Long Beach during the Great Depression, when he worked many jobs, including restaurant work, and as an artist at the Walt Disney Studios. Thiebaud attended a junior college before serving in the army as an artist during World War II. After the war he went back to school – but this time as a teacher at the junior college level. It was during this time that Thiebaud decided to start pursuing a career as a serious painter, forsaking the steady income illustration and teaching had provided him. By 1961, his work was exhibited in New York to much acclaim. His use of bright colors and everyday objects moved him to the forefront of the Pop Art movement, yet Thiebaud always considered himself outside it because he painted his memories, not for bold statements, but for nostalgia.

After his success, Thiebaud continued painting and began teaching at University of California, Davis. As an artist, he moved on to cityscapes, continued to exhibit in New York, and inspired new artists. In 1993, Thiebaud designed the California Arts License Plate, titled Coastline, benefiting California Arts Council programs for children and supporting arts organizations throughout California. Thiebaud is retired from teaching and continues to paint.

"I haven’t the slightest idea what art is, but to be a painter is something of which you have to prove. "
— Wayne Thiebaud



Dates at FC





Professor of Fine Art, Emeritus, University of California, Davis
National Medal of Arts, 1987
Artist-in-Residence, Fullerton College, 1972
Instructor of Art, Sacramento City College
M.A., California State University, Sacramento
B.A., California State University, San Jose