Wayne Thiebaud’s greatest landscape work will be auctioned for the first time. Here is the estimated retail price – 71Bait

Wayne Thiebaud’s 2004 painting City Views will be on view at Christie’s in San Francisco until Friday April 22 ahead of the May 12 auction in New York Photo: courtesy of Christie

Wayne Thiebaud’s 2004 painting City Views will be among the works to be auctioned off during a major Spring auction highlighting art from the 1880s to 1980s, auction house Christie’s announced on Thursday, April 14.

It is among the largest landscape works ever painted by the late Bay Area figurative painter and is one of the lots in the auction house’s Spring Marquee Week 20th Century Evening Sale, taking place May 12 in New York City. Now in its third season, the auction will feature works by Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Willem de Kooning and Andy Warhol.

“As far as we know, it’s the only triptych of his that will be auctioned,” Ellanor Notides, chairman of Christie’s West Coast, told The Chronicle of City Views.

The work, which depicts San Francisco streets and skyscrapers that appear to intersect and converge, was commissioned almost two decades ago by the Gladstone Institutes, a San Francisco-based nonprofit biomedical research organization focused on the study of cardiovascular disease , viral and immunological diseases as well as neurodegenerative diseases. It previously hung in their Mission Bay building.

City Views will be on display at Christie’s San Francisco on Tuesday April 19th and can be seen through Friday April 22nd before going up for auction in New York.

The triptych, which was painted over several months in 2003/04, is for sale for the first time ever.

“His work provided a glimpse into the mysteries of life in San Francisco, as our science helps shed light on human biology,” said Deepak Srivastava, president of the Gladstone Institutes. “We are pleased to continue to honor him, his legacy and his love of mentoring by using the proceeds of the sale to establish a new fund that will support the next generations of young scientists.”

Thiebaud, who died in December at his longtime home in Sacramento at the age of 101, is recognized as one of the most important Northern California artists of his life, with a career that spanned the 1950s through the 2020s. Known for his heavy pigmentation, bold color choices, and use of shadows, he often highlighted everyday objects in his work, such as gumball machines, paint cans, and desserts, leading some to identify him with the Pop Art movement.

Notides called “City Views” a culmination of several important areas in Thiebaud’s work, including his depiction of landscapes and cityscapes, his use of clouds and street scenes.

“If you look at the picture, you can see Wayne added something,” said Notides, who first met the artist in 1992. “Wayne wasn’t one to leave things behind. There are little pops and dots of color and little off-white spots that almost resembled his ice cream cones.”

Christie’s current estimated retail price is between $10 million and $15 million. That number, Notides said, is based not only on the work’s size and quality, but also after considering recent selling prices for other paintings by the artist. In 2021, Thiebaud’s 1968 painting Toweling Off, depicting a woman wiping her face, was sold by the auction house for $8.4 million.

Christie’s holds the record price for a Thiebaud work with the 2020 sale of the 1962 painting Four Pinball Machines, which sold for more than $19 million.

“Four Pinball Machines”, Wayne Thiebaud, 1962. Photo: Christie

The Gladstone Institutes, which were the sole owners of City Views, plan to use the proceeds from the sale to establish a special fund to support academic training and mentoring programs.

“The Gladstone Institutes made the very difficult decision to sell a work because it is expensive for them to keep. But at the same time, they support the artist’s mission,” Notides said. “Wayne was really about the next generation, about education. What they can do is sell a work that will benefit their future residents, their future graduate student. program and enable them to come to San Francisco and study and do research with the institutes.”

Thiebaud also painted portraits throughout his seven-decade career, although his landscapes and cityscapes, often depicting Northern California, are now significant areas in his body of work.

The artist began an equally prolific career as a teacher at Sacramento City College. In 1960 he joined UC Davis as a professor in the then fledgling art department.

“I got out of the commercial art business to get a teaching license,” Thiebaud said in a 2018 Chronicle interview. “Teaching at university became my education.”

He officially retired in 1990 but continued to teach until 2002, remaining Professor Emeritus at the university until his death.

“City Views”: On view from 10am to 5pm and by appointment until Friday April 22nd. For free. Christie’s San Francisco, 49 Geary St., SF

Christie’s Spring Marquee Week 20th Century Evening Sale: 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, May 12. Christie’s New York, 20 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY and online at www.christies.com

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