A Seller's Guide To Wayne Thiebaud

Boston Cremes by Wayne Thiebaud - MyArtBroker Boston Cremes © Wayne Thiebaud 1970
Leah Mentzis

Leah Mentzis, Partnerships Manager[email protected]

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Wayne Thiebaud?

Wayne Thiebaud

Wayne Thiebaud

68 works

Wayne Thiebaud, an esteemed American painter, is renowned for his vibrant and colour-rich portrayals of ordinary objects. His artworks often depict nostalgic items ranging from sweet confections like candy apples and pies to everyday commodities such as toys and lipstick tubes. This nostalgic aesthetic stems from his background as a freelance cartoonist and sign painter. In this guide for sellers, we offer valuable insights into Thiebaud's print market, including essential information on valuation and market trends. This comprehensive resource is indispensable for collectors and investors seeking to navigate the dynamics of Thiebaud's market.

Thiebaud's artistic journey unfolded against the backdrop of World War II, a period dominated by abstract expressionism. Despite his connections to artists of that movement, Thiebaud's inclination toward figuration aligned more closely with American Pop Art. His fascination with this aesthetic emerged early, influenced by his apprenticeship at Walt Disney Studios and later work as a cartoonist for the King Features Syndicate in New York. While his focus on everyday objects associates him with Pop Art, Thiebaud's approach diverged with its emphasis on traditional techniques and personal subject matter. Thiebaud's painterly technique infused his subjects—ranging from sweets and arcade machines to landscapes and occasionally people—with a tangible quality enticing viewers with its tactile allure.

How Much Do Wayne Thiebaud Prints Sell For?

Thiebaud’s Confectionery Sweets

The worth of Thiebaud prints can fluctuate significantly based on standard factors influencing print value such as edition size, rarity in the market, and demand. Thiebaud's repertoire spans various mediums, including paintings, works on paper, limited editions and on-editions. Many of his limited edition prints originate from private collections or museums, often mirroring his renowned paintings. For instance, Double Deckers (1964) fetched over £7,000 at Christie’s in 2018, while Three Ice Cream Cones (1964) soared to £4 million at the same auction house in 2022. Candy Counter (1970), another coveted print, has seen escalating prices at auction, from £1,000 in 1995 to over £6,000 in 2023. Thiebaud's acclaimed paintings, Candy Counter (1969) and Encased Cakes (2010-2011), achieved remarkable sums of £11.8 million and £8.5 million, respectively, reflecting their esteemed status.



“Originally, I painted right on the streets, trying to get some of the kind of drama I felt about the city and its vertiginous (dizzying) character, but that didn't seem to work. The reality was one thing, but the fantasy or the exploration of it was another.”
Wayne Thiebaud

Thiebaud’s Landscapes and City Views

Also influencing the value of Thiebaud prints is the subject matter depicted. While Thiebaud is renowned for his portrayals of sweet confections and arcade games, which typically command high prices at auctions, prints and originals, his oeuvre encompasses a variety of subjects. Thiebaud's repertoire also includes landscapes and city views, an ode to his time spent in the San Francisco Valley of California and Mesa, Arizona, portraying the steep hills and mountains from a birds eye view. River And Farms (2002) is a rare example, fetching £4,800 with fees in its most recent sale in February 2024. Conversely, Hill Street (1971) highlights the demand for city views, with a limited edition print achieving £23,000 in 2021, its most recent sale. The painting version of this print sold for a record £4.8 million in 2014.

Thiebaud Standard Editions Versus Unique Editions

In Thiebaud’s print market there are often instance where Special Edition prints, set apart from standard editions, often feature signatures and markings in distinct locations. For instance, in Thiebaud’s market, Candy Apples (1987) recently achieved a record price, with an Artist Proof (AP) edition selling for over £71,000 at Sotheby’s. In contrast, the standard edition, numbered 106/200, sold at Phillips' April sale for £30,641. These distinctions underscore the unique dynamics of the prints market. While these subtleties may differ across artists, each artist's market possesses its own characteristics. Therefore, comprehending the intricacies of print production and their impact on the value of a specific artist's market is essential when contemplating a sale.

Read Case Study: How To Value Prints & Editions With Art Tech to learn more about our technology.

How Do You Authenticate A Thiebaud Print?

Thiebaud's print oeuvre comprises both editioned pieces and distinctive hand-finished prints, each featuring diverse numbering and signatures crucial for understanding and confirming their authenticity. For instance, Jawbreaker Machine (AP) (1990) achieved a record price of £370,726 at Christie’s in 2022. This particular print is hand-finished in pastel and although marked AP, it is classified as a non-editioned, hence lacks numbering. Instead, it features ‘Thiebaud 1990’ in the lower right-hand corner with a red heart sketched by the ‘T’. These details substantially elevate the value when authenticating a Thiebaud print, crucial for potential sellers, and can delineate the clientele interested in acquiring rare editions.

Similarly, both Three Pies (1964) and Cigars (1980-1994) represent distinctive editions, each marked with specific inscriptions and signatures. Cigars, labelled as a 'Colour Trial Proof' and bearing a red heart by the signature, aids in authentication. Although unnumbered, it falls outside the primary edition of 50 and commands a premium price. Likewise, Three Pies is marked as a 'Colour Trail AP' and is also unnumbered but commands a premium. Unlike Cigars, the signature on this print lacks a red heart. While all Thiebaud prints feature signatures, there are nuances. Unique special editions may or may not include a hand-finished red heart near the signature, whereas standard editions might include a pencil-drawn heart. These subtleties, including familiarity with the artist's signature placement and the prints available in standard versus unique editions aids in authenticating the work.

Browse Wayne Thiebaud prints on the Trading Floor and find out more about the print market growth on the MAB100 Print Index.

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The Wayne Thiebaud Foundation And Gallery Representation

Although not involved in authenticating artworks, The Wayne Thiebaud Foundation dedicates itself to preserving and promoting Thiebaud’s artistic legacy by donating and loaning works to educational and research institutions. Managed by Matt Bult and his wife, Maria Bult, the foundation serves as a crucial resource for scholars and enthusiasts alike. Thiebaud's early association with art dealer Allan Stone, whom he befriended in 1961, significantly impacted his career with a breakout solo show in 1962 that propelled him to success. Stone, who served as Thiebaud's dealer until his passing in 2006, played a pivotal role in propelling his work into the spotlight. Thiebaud has long been represented by Aquavella and has associations with other reputable galleries like Berggruen and White Cube. Often, the provenance of Thiebaud's artworks can be traced back to the Bult's, Stone, or one of these esteemed galleries, serving as a crucial factor in authenticating the provenance of the artwork. Documentation, such as original invoices, certificates of authenticity (COAs), or exhibition records, can further enhance the value of your print.

Has Your Thiebaud Print Been Kept in Good Condition?

The condition of your print significantly influences its value, as buyers typically prefer prints free from wear, fading, or damage. To maintain your print's condition, handle it with clean hands while wearing art handling cotton gloves. Store artworks in a dry, temperature-controlled environment, mounted on acid-free paper, and protected behind UV-resistant glass. Avoid exposing your print to direct sunlight or extreme temperatures, which can cause irreparable harm. If unsure about the print’s condition, seek guidance from a professional conservator for potential restoration measures before selling.

Regularly inspect your print for deterioration and consider professional cleaning or restoration if necessary to prevent damage. Over time, prints may naturally wear, and in such cases, consulting a specialist conservator is advisable to address any damage and restore the print. For detailed care and restoration guidance, refer to our comprehensive guide.


When Is The Best Time To Sell My Thiebaud Print?

When contemplating selling your Thiebaud print, seeking guidance from an expert in Thiebaud’s artwork is invaluable, especially given the rise of forgeries and reproductions in the market. Thorough research is imperative to determine the opportune moment to sell your print and evaluate its fair market value. Analysing recent sales of comparable works and exhibitions often yields valuable insights into your print's potential value. In the recent May New York sales, several of Thiebaud paintings took centre stage during both the evening and day auctions. Notable highlights included Star Pinball (1962), which fetched £8.9 million with fees at Christie's, and Shadow Streets (2002), reaching £2.5 million with fees at Sotheby's. Aquavella Gallery strategically aligned its exhibition, Wayne Thiebaud: Summer Days, with these sales, further enhancing the artist's cultural significance and the prominence of his work within the current market landscape. This exhibition is set to continue until June 2024.

Typically, a strong market and cultural presence of an artist indicate a favourable time to sell. However, navigating the complexities and fluctuations of the art market may necessitate professional assistance. Fortunately, with the art tech tools available, MyArtBroker can assist you. We offer complimentary valuations for your artwork and provide access to our MyPortfolio service, featuring an AI-powered value indicator that offers real-time valuation of individual prints by amalgamating public and private sales data. This ensures you remain aware of the latest trends in Thiebaud’s market, empowering you to make informed decisions about your print.


Where Can I Sell My Thiebaud Print?

SELLING A THIEBAUD VIA AUCTION HOUSE

Branded auction houses like Christie's, Sotheby's, and Phillips are frequently chosen for selling valuable artworks by renowned artists like Thiebaud. These establishments provide a professional and curated environment that attracts a broad network of serious collectors, fostering competitive bidding that can drive prices well above estimates. However, there's a possibility that works may sell below estimates, impacting both paintings and prints. Additionally, sellers should consider the associated fees and commissions, which can be as high as 25% of the selling price, significantly affecting net earnings, especially for print sales. Moreover, selling through auction houses is often a time-consuming process, with limitations on the number of editions accepted for each sale, potentially leading to a backlog of artworks awaiting auction and a potential decrease in value.

Read our guide to Auction v Private Sale in the Art Market.

SELLING A THIEBAUD VIA A BROKER

Commission fees can vary significantly with independent brokers, typically ranging from 10% to 30% of the final sale price. Moreover, galleries and brokers might require an exclusivity agreement, so it's crucial to thoroughly review selling contracts, ensuring a clear understanding of all terms and conditions before proceeding. It's advisable to research reputable brokers specialising in contemporary art, particularly those with specific expertise in Thiebaud’s work. Galleries like Aquavella, Berggruen, and White Cube are prime examples, as they likely have sales directors with a keen focus on Thiebaud’s market, given their long-standing association with his work and hosted exhibitions.

SELLING A THIEBAUD VIA ONLINE MARKETPLACE

In today's digital era, numerous online marketplaces offer an alternative to traditional auction houses for selling your print. Platforms such as Artsy and ArtNet conduct their own online auctions, albeit with competitive fees and the potential for backlog queues. However, opting for unregulated online marketplaces, where professional authentication is lacking for sellers and buyers, is highly discouraged due to the elevated risk of forgeries and market scams. Regardless of the chosen avenue, maximising the value of your artwork necessitates uploading professional, high-quality photos, ensuring proper paper authentication and documentation to verify provenance, and obtaining a professional condition check.


WHY SELL YOUR WAYNE THIEBAUD PRINT WITH MYARTBROKER?

A DEDICATED BROKER

MyArtBroker offers a distinctive service connecting clients with their dedicated personal broker, ensuring a secure transaction through our online digital platform. Our specialists excel at sourcing direct buyers for consigned prints via our live trading floor, where users within our extensive network can express interest in specific prints and multiples by particular artists, whether they intend to sell, buy, or simply desire a specific print. Our team is approachable, passionate, and consistently provides updates on the art market and artists. We guide sellers through a seamless transaction process, establishing a fair market valuation based on realistic sale prices and offering free advice on the optimal timing for selling, leveraging our extensive knowledge of the art market.

Meet our team of specialist brokers.

MINIMISE RISK

At MyArtBroker, we prioritise transparency and security in every art sale. Our stringent due diligence process ensures the authentication and verification of artwork provenance, drawing upon our in-house expertise and collaborating with professional external contacts when needed. This approach effectively mitigates the risk of trading counterfeit or stolen art pieces. Additionally, we minimise the risks associated with public sales. While public auctions may seem appealing, unsold prints can harm an artist's market. Private sales eliminate this risk and enable quicker liquidity release for your artwork compared to adhering to strict auction schedules dictating when your work can be offered for sale.

0% SELLER’S FEES, 100% OF THE TIME

Our team of specialists offers tailored services to procure rare and special edition prints, catering to both seasoned collectors and newcomers to the market. As part of our standard practice, we provide complimentary valuations and charge zero seller's fees, setting us apart from other private brokers and traditional auction houses. By minimising overhead costs, we allocate resources towards digital innovation and targeted marketing strategies within our network and house magazine.

When it comes to selling artwork, achieving the best price hinges on accessing a niche market with an established collector community. If you're looking to sell a print, turning to a specialist in the print market, like MyArtBroker, yields superior results compared to approaching an auction house, which caters to broader categories of artwork.

OUR NETWORK

Through our live trading floor, we empower our network of collectors, fundamentally reshaping the art investment and trading landscape in the digital era. Offering real-time market data and insights gleaned from worldwide collectors, we establish value based on convenience, accessibility, and the exceptional level of transparency and security provided to over tens of thousands of users.


WAYNE THIEBAUD COLLECTION MANAGEMENT WITH MYPORTFOLIO

In addition to our live trading floor, MyArtBroker's MyPortfolio serves as a collection management system, empowering collectors to curate and oversee their prints and editions collection, while tracking its value in real-time. This feature grants users access to our print market database, uniquely tied to our proprietary algorithm, SingularityX. This algorithm scans and analyses both public auction and private sales data to determine real-time valuations of individual print works, factoring in various aspects such as condition, colour, and other factors affecting value.

Read What Powers MyArtBroker's Technology? In Conversation With Stuart Jameison, Financial Quant to learn more about our algorithm.

Emerging art tech tools are vital in navigating the current, and evolving, digital art market landscape. For instance, by adding Wayne Thiebaud prints from our website to the MyPortfolio dashboard, users gain insight into unique sale opportunities and observe market performance and fluctuations in real time, streamlining the sales process effortlessly. Our pioneering technology has revolutionised art portfolio management, making it more accessible and equipping users with data-driven insights for informed decisions. MyArtBroker harnesses cutting-edge technology driven by data, coupled with a team of industry experts, to deliver an exceptional experience. Our professionals work closely with clients, utilising the MyPortfolio dashboard, to provide personalised guidance for creating a profitable art collection. By merging technology and expertise, we are committed to offering unparalleled curation and customer service.