description of Alameda Gran Torino by Robert Bechtle

A 1970’s wood-paneled station wagon is the subject of this photorealist oil painting. The car, a moss-green Gran Torino with mustard-yellow trim and dark wood panelling, sits in a driveway with its trunk at our right and the hood to our left. The car is pristine, as is the pale driveway beneath and the closed garage door at its nose. A dark shadow lies beneath the car, and sunlight reflects off of the windshield and washes over the garage door in rippling waves. Light from the unseen sun plays on the car windows and shines on the chrome roof rack, side mirror, and steel bumper. Every detail has been included in this four-foot tall, nearly six-foot wide painting: a thin line of grass grows in the crack between the driveway and the sidewalk; the dealer name ‘Berkley Golden Bear Ford’ adorns the license plate frame; the valve stems are present on the tires; and the nearly hidden muffler can be found in the dark shadow underneath the car.

Robert Bechtle, Alameda Gran Torino, 1974
Robert Bechtle, Alameda Gran Torino, 1974; oil on canvas, 48 in. x 69 in. (121.92 cm x 175.26 cm); Collection SFMOMA, T. B. Walker Foundation Fund purchase in honor of John Humphrey; © Robert Bechtle
Robert Bechtle, Alameda Gran Torino, 1974

Artwork Info

Artwork title
Alameda Gran Torino
Artist name
Robert Bechtle
Date created
oil on canvas
48 in. x 69 in. (121.92 cm x 175.26 cm)
Date acquired
Collection SFMOMA
T. B. Walker Foundation Fund purchase in honor of John Humphrey
© Robert Bechtle
Permanent URL
Artwork status
On view on floor 2 as part of Open Ended: Painting and Sculpture Since 1900

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