FRAME|WORK: Candy Apples by Wayne Thiebaud

For many, the winter holidays are as much about eating as they are about gifting! Today’s FRAME|WORK features Wayne Thiebaud’s iconic Candy Apples, a delicious reminder to eat and love well this holiday season.

Wayne Thiebaud (American, b. 1920). Candy Apples, 1987. Color woodcut on tosa kozo paper. Crown Point Press Archive, gift of Crown Point Press. 1992.167.270. © Wayne Thiebaud

Wayne Thiebaud (b. 1920) characterized himself as “an ordinary American kid,” an assertion that is easily recognizable in the depictions of everyday objects for which he is best known. Throughout his career, Thiebaud’s artwork has focused on the lighter side of consumer culture, celebrating the fluffy cakes, hot dogs and ice cream cones traditionally associated with notions of the American Dream.

While pears–or rather, pear trees–are the fruit most commonly associated with Christmas, apples also have a long-standing relationship with this season. Early Christmas trees were decorated with all sorts of fruit, apples chief among them; and legend suggests that during the winter holidays, if an apple is cut open to reveal a perfect star with ripe, plump seeds, the next year will be filled with health and fortune.

Thiebaud’s nostalgic conception of candied apples references the artist’s fondly remembered youth. Thiebaud attempts to capture a quickly vanishing America whose simple symbols of hope evoke the persistent possibility of the American Dream.

We at the Fine Arts Museums hope that all your apples have stars in them this holiday season!