Artist and Former Disney Animator Wayne Thiebaud Passes Away at 101

Artist and former Disney animator Wayne Thiebaud, whose luscious, colorful paintings of cakes and San Francisco cityscapes combined sensuousness, nostalgia and a hint of melancholy, has passed away at the age of 101.

What’s Happening:

  • According to The Hollywood Reporter, artist Wayne Thiebaud’s death was confirmed yesterday through a statement from his gallery, Acquavella.
  • “Even at 101 years old, he still spent most days in the studio, driven by, as he described with his characteristic humility, ‘this almost neurotic fixation of trying to learn to paint,’” the gallery’s statement said.
  • Thiebaud was born in Mesa, Arizona, in 1920 and grew up in Sacramento, California.
  • While in high school, he started out as an apprentice animator for Walt Disney Productions for three months in the early days of the company, later working as a poster designer and commercial artist in California and New York prior to becoming a painter.
  • Thiebaud specialized in paintings that used a heavy amount of paint. So heavy in fact that he often carved his signature into the painting instead of putting it on with the brush.
  • Another common subject for his paintings was gumball machines, because “a big round globe is so beautiful, and it’s really a kind of orchestration of circles of all kinds. But it’s also very sensuous, I think, and it offers wonderful opportunities for painting something like, almost like a bouquet of flowers.”