Trucker's Supper is a celebrated and widely exhibited Wayne Thiebaud painting, depicting his favorite subject: food, and its peculiarly American presentation. Trucker's Supper's subject is a stereotypical American diner meal: a steak dinner with fries, milk and buttered toasts set-up with flat iron utensils on a paper napkin. Thiebaud's signature deadpan paintings of displays of popular food items, such as cakes, candy and as in the present lot, more savory treats, often led him to be mistakenly associated with Pop art. Yet, the artist's motive was not to satirize or to depersonalize commonplace objects, but to present them with vitality and dynamism in celebration of the demotic American consumer goods. In Trucker's Supper, far from rebutting the cafeteria-type food, Thiebaud readily embraces it, tilting the picture plane to an angle which invites the viewer to the meal.
Having spent most of his life in California, Thiebaud's heavy pigments and gestural yet contained style of figuration in Trucker's Supper demonstrate the irresistible influence of the Bay Area abstract expressionists. In the present lot, the viscous brushwork defines the main dish with a rich sensuality and the modulated lighting delineates the surrounding objects with a sublime clarity.
Thiebaud painted his still lifes uniquely from memory. His depictions of food do not merely narrate the popular American culture but also reveal Thiebaud's reverence for commonplace objects and nostalgia that link them to various periods of his life. With an elegant familiarity that is uniquely his own, Thiebaud's art encourages the viewer to take a great pleasure in looking at things.