SAN FRANCISCO—Robert Bechtle, San Francisco-born photorealist, passed away on Thursday, Sept. 24, at age 88. Bechtle picked everyday life and the world as his subject matter for paintings, and he transformed them into fine art.
Bechtle was born in San Francisco on May 14, 1932, and graduated from Alameda High School. He earned his bachelor and master of fine arts from California College of Arts and Crafts (now California College of the Arts) in Oakland, and he later taught at the University of California, Berkeley, University of California, Davis, and San Francisco State University.
His painting style is called hyper-realistic since he captured a moment everyone could experience. His work became popular in the late 1960s, following the Bay Area Figurative Art movement, an abstract expressionist style of painting. Bay Area Figurative art became popular locally when he was a student at college.
Bechtle painted neighborhood streets, houses, and cars located mainly in San Francisco, Alameda, and Berkeley. He worked with photographic source materials and shared unique California culture at the same time.
His famous art pieces including, Alameda Gran Torino (1974), Watsonville Olympia (1977), Arkansas Street – Night (2002), Potrero Hill (1996), Cookie Jar (1964), and Sunset Tercel (1987).
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) is exhibiting Bechtle’s masterpieces. SFMOMA reopens to the public on October 4, 2020.