'61 Pontiac, 1968 — 69
Oil on canvas
Collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Purchase, with funds from the Richard and Dorothy Rogers Fund
© Robert Bechtle
For the past 40 years, painter Robert Bechtle has focused our attention on the everyday. Working in a sun-bleached color palette and photorealist style, Bechtle gives us a quiet Americana: street-scapes, family scenes, portraits of cars. Bechtle works from photographs of familiar subjects (his family and home, for example), creating a record of a precise moment while withholding just enough detail to remain painterly. The result is an uncanny reflection of middle-class American culture. Many viewers will recognize the light and architecture of the Bay Area in Bechtle's images. Indeed, this San Francisco-based artist has taken his various neighborhoods as a primary subject. The first full-scale survey of Bechtle's art, this exhibition traces his career from his early photo-based pieces of the 1960s to his most recent work, with 91 paintings and works on paper.
Robert Bechtle: A Retrospective is organized by SFMOMA. The exhibition is generously supported by the Evelyn D. Haas Exhibition Fund, the Bernard Osher Foundation, the Estates of Emily and Lewis S. Callaghan, the Kadima Foundation and the Richard Florsheim Art Fund. Additional support has been provided by Collectors Forum and the Modern Art Council, SFMOMA auxiliaries.