Thiebaud selected for California Hall of Fame

Wayne Thiebaud at a UC Davis video shoot in 2008
Thiebaud at a UC Davis video shoot in 2008

Art professor emeritus Wayne Thiebaud is among 14 people chosen for induction this year into the California Museum’s California Hall of Fame, according to an announcement today (July 7) from Gov. Schwarzenegger and first lady Maria Shriver.

The 4-year-old hall of fame, housed at the California Museum in Sacramento, honors Californians who embody the state’s innovative spirit and have made their marks on history.

The 2010 class also includes filmmaker James Cameron, Silicon Valley visionary investor John Doerr, country music legend Merle Haggard, author and activist Anne Lamott, former Secretary of State George Shultz, historian Kevin Starr, screen and music icon Barbra Streisand, comedian Betty White, tennis champion Serena Williams and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Three people will be honored posthumously: former Gov. Edmund G. “Pat” Brown, Bank of America founder A.P. Giannini, and blue-jeans giant and philanthropist Levi Strauss.

Thiebaud, who joined the art department faculty in 1960 and continues to teach occasional classes, has established himself as one of the most important contemporary American artists —although he prefers to be called a "painter."

The Sacramentan is best known for his renderings of the everyday — pinball machines, pie, lipstick — and for his vertiginous San Francisco cityscapes and lushly colored Sacramento Valley riverscapes.

Today his works are on display at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art, the Chicago Art Institute, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among many other prominent institutions.

President Clinton awarded him the National Medal of Arts in 1994. He is an elected member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters, an academician of the National Academy of Design, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

He is a recipient of the National Arts Club's Gold Medal for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award, the American Academy of Design's Lifetime Achievement Award for Art, and many other prestigious honors, including five honorary doctoral degrees.

Thiebaud and the other 2010 California Hall of Fame inductees will join 51 others whose inductions took place from 2006 to 2009. The hall of famers represent a wide range of achievements, from science, business and technology to art, sports and activism.

"I am so honored to be able to recognize this incredible roster of people who are not only an inspiration to me but to
others across California and beyond," Shriver said in a news release. "They represent the diversity, innovation and
creativity that overflows from our amazing state.”

The 2010 induction ceremony is scheduled for Dec. 14 at the California Museum. If the past is any indication, a large crowd of people will gather outside for the red carpet arrivals — in a scene that makes this once-a-year event a Sacramento spectacle.

Along with the ceremony comes a new exhibition highlighting the new inductees, and including artifacts and mementos loaned by the inductees themselves, their families and organizations.

On the Web

“Thiebaud’s rare gift,” a UC Davis Web spotlight from October 2008, includes a slide show of some of Thiebaud’s art. The accompanying story tells about a gift of 20 hand worked prints from Thiebaud and his wife, his wife, Betty Jean, to the university.

California Museum


Media Resources

Dave Jones, Dateline, 530-752-6556,

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