[He] "creates a kind of theater of repeating objects, the same object over and over again but with different dramas." - Wayne Thiebaud on Italian still-life painter Giorgio Morandi.

Morton Wayne Thiebaud, whose brilliantly haloed paintings of desserts brought him national recognition in the early 1960s, was drawn to the same tensions. Initially, Thiebaud feared his anti-intellectual choice to render cakes and pies from his imagination might be a fatal blow to his career. He recounted thinking, "If I'm going do this, I better get ready to be laughed out of the art world. No one can take this seriously." His impulse was perfectly timed. He was part of the 1962 Pasadena Art Museum's "New Painting of Common Objects," a landmark group show regarded as America's first pop art exhibition. At the same time, along with fellow instructors David Park, Roy Deforest, Manuel Neri, and Robert Arneson, he brought international attention and acclaim to the brand new art department at California's UC Davis in Sacramento, known primarily before 1960 as an agricultural college. In the mid-'60s, Thiebaud took up printmaking, a practice he pursued alongside painting. He enjoyed a stellar career in the art world, but his generosity as a teacher brought him great acclaim as well. Until his passing on December 25, 2021, at age 101, Thiebaud kept a sketchbook and continued to paint daily.