UC Davis Statement on the Death of Wayne Thiebaud

Wayne Thiebaud in 2016
Artist and Professor Emeritus Wayne Thiebaud at the under-construction Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art in 2016. He died Dec. 25 at the age of 101. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

The communities of the University of California, Davis, are deeply saddened by the passing of artist and Professor Emeritus Wayne Thiebaud on Dec. 25 at the age of 101. He taught at and served UC Davis for more than 40 years. His brilliance, talent, warmth and generosity leave a legacy that will live on and enrich our campus and the world for generations to come.

“Wayne Thiebaud had a profound and lasting influence on our university, but his legacy transcends UC Davis. He was beloved as an artist, professor, mentor, father, grandfather, philanthropist and community leader,” said UC Davis Chancellor Gary S. May. “He was a brilliant artist, and his work will forever encourage us to see our world in a more textural light, where common objects can ascend to profound and iconic heights.”

As an artist, he deeply valued his role as teacher.

“Wayne Thiebaud believed teaching and learning were life's most important pursuits. He loved to read, discuss, and look together with his students,” said Rachel Teagle, founding director of the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art at UC Davis. “‘Painting is a team sport,’” he liked to say. “And for his many, many lifelong students, learning with Wayne was a great honor.” 

“Wayne Thiebaud will have a powerful impact on succeeding generations of students,” added Annabeth Rosen, co-chair of the Department of Art and Art History. “He was exceptional in his dedication to teaching long after he retired.”

Media Resources

Media Contacts:

  • Karen Nikos-Rose, 530-219-5472, kmnikos@ucdavis.edu
  • Laura Compton, 530-304-9517, llcompton@ucdavis.edu


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