Robert Bechtle

American (San Francisco, California, 1932)

A native and lifelong resident of the Bay Area, Robert Bechtle focuses on the things he knows best, such as family, cars, houses, and neighborhoods. In doing so he turns what seem to be ordinary scenes of middle-class American life into paintings. During his student years and into the 1960s, when he was getting his artistic footing, Pop art was evolving across the country and Bay Area Figurative art was flourishing locally. His resistance to getting caught up in the sensuous surfaces of figurative painting prompted him to move toward a tightly controlled paint handling and to work with photographic source material as a fundamental and explicit part of his practice, simultaneously exploring California culture and basic issues of painting in very matter-of-fact ways.


From June 3, 2013, through early 2016, SFMOMA's building on Third Street in San Francisco will be temporarily closed for expansion construction. Selected artworks in our collection are included in a range of off-site exhibitions during this period. We regret that the remainder of the collection will not be available for study during this time.

In the meantime, we invite you to explore a wide selection of our collection online. Please note that the information presented online is subject to revision. Please contact us at collections@sfmoma.org to verify artwork details.

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