Christie’s recently announced Wayne Thiebaud’s City Views (estimated $10 million – 15 million) will highlight the Spring Marquee Week 20th Century Evening Sale at Rockefeller Plaza on Thursday, 12 May 2022. City Views is a striking triptych, standing as one of the largest landscapes ever painted by Thiebaud.
The work is being sold by the nonprofit biomedical research organization Gladstone Institutes, with proceeds going to a dedicated fund that supports its scientific training and mentoring programs.
Gladstone has disrupted the traditional research model to accelerate discovery and cure development. Their vision is to overcome unsolved diseases through transformative biomedical research, particularly in the areas of cardiovascular, viral, and immunological diseases as well as neurodegenerative disorders. Gladstone also seeks to mentor and train future generations of scientific innovators.
Created as a commissioned installation for the Gladstone Institutes in 2004, this May marks the first time City Views will be sold. Prior to the sale, the work will be on view in Christie’s San Francisco and Christie’s New York galleries.
Deepak Srivastava, President, Gladstone Institutes, remarks, “Mr. Thiebaud placed great value on teaching and mentoring, with many of his mentees going on to become influential American artists themselves. As a tribute to this legacy, all of the sale proceeds will go directly to a new, named fund to support our postdoctoral fellows along their journey to become leaders in biomedical science.”
Ellanor Notides, Christie’s, Chairman, West Coast, remarks, “Painted specifically for the Gladstone Institutes in 2004, City Views is a breathtaking and timeless rendering of San Francisco. Wayne Thiebaud—both local hero and internationally celebrated artist—was known for his map-like urban landscapes, and this is an absolutely superb example.
The painting is an homage to our great city and we at Christie’s are so proud to steward it this Spring, and I am truly elated that proceeds will benefit innovation and discovery science and further the great work that the Institutes continues to achieve for the betterment of global health.”
City Views is demonstrative of Thiebaud’s skill and telegraphs the enthusiasm with which the iconic Californian continued to paint the Bay Area throughout the entirety of his career. Thiebaud, who passed away last December at the age of 101, first began painting San Francisco in the 1970s, creating faithful iterations of that which he saw before him.
As time went on, he began to combine different vantage points into fantastic larger-than-life cityscapes. City Views is exemplary, with roadways flattened out into geometric panels to form a quilt-like grid with buildings and sky. Bordering on the edge of abstraction, the formal composition is amplified through its triptych format, the three canvasses coalescing in a delightful interplay of color, texture, and shape in a singular reimagining of the modern West coast landscape.
Thiebaud painted City Views over the course of about one year, finishing it six months prior to the completion of the Gladstone building in which it would eventually be installed. With the canvasses still in the studio, Thiebaud continued to fiddle with the composition, incorporating new playful elements and hidden gems for the perceptive viewer.
The median in the road in the central panel became a necktie, and the trees became cupcakes dotting the landscape, recalling his infamous cake series. In a way, the outcome is a complete retrospective of the artist contained within a single work.