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Wayne Thiebaud, “Nine Jelly Apples” (1964), watercolor and graphite. Yale University Art Gallery, Gift of George Hopper Fitch, B.A. 1932 (photography by Tony De Camillo, © Wayne Thiebaud/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY)

Best known for his rich, colorful paintings of cakes, ice cream cones, and candy counters, California artist Wayne Thiebaud (b. 1920) has been an avid and prolific draftsman since he began his career as an illustrator and cartoonist. Featuring subjects that range from deli counters and solitary figures to dramatic views of San Francisco’s plunging streets, Thiebaud’s drawings endow the most common objects and everyday scenes with a sense of poetry and nostalgia.

Opening at the Morgan Library & Museum on May 18, Wayne Thiebaud, Draftsman is the first exhibition to explore the full scope of the artist’s works on paper, including quick sketches, finished pastels, watercolors, and charcoal drawings. The earliest of the almost eighty-five works on view are cartoons from the 1940s, while the most recent feature landscape drawings inspired by the Sacramento River valley.

“The Morgan is delighted to present this groundbreaking exhibition,” said Colin B. Bailey, director of the museum. “Understanding the importance of drawing in Wayne Thiebaud’s career is fundamental to understanding his art and his artistic development. Throughout the exhibition, Thiebaud’s ability to find inspiration in the prosaic and familiar is on vivid display. The Morgan is deeply grateful to the artist for his cooperation in the organization of the exhibition and for his generosity in agreeing to lend so many works to it.”

Wayne Thiebaud, Draftsman is organized by the Morgan Library & Museum, New York. The curator of the exhibition is Isabelle Dervaux, Acquavella Curator and Department Head, Modern and Contemporary Drawings, the Morgan Library & Museum.

Wayne Thiebaud, Draftsman continues at The Morgan Library & Museum (225 Madison Avenue, Midtown East, Manhattan) through September 23, 2018.