Door 17: Robert Bechtle

There is a certain fascination that comes with arts that break with current trends and go in the complete opposite direction. In the 1960's in U.S.A. Abstract Expressionism was predominant and to counter this trend the Bay Area Figurative movement started Photorealism.

A key figure was and still is the painter Robert Bechtle. Born in 1932 in San Francisco he studied graphic design in Oakland at California College of Arts and Crafts until 1954. Shortly after his graduation he got drafted army and sent to Berlin.

After his return he studied again at the California College of Arts and Crafts, but now painting and finished with a degree in fine arts. During this time he got introduced to the aforementioned Bay Area Figurative movement, who set out to break with the status quo of painting at that time. Initially he started to use photos as an aid, but by 1966 his use of photographs became an integral part of his working process.

His pictures are inspired by his local San Francisco surroundings and has a particular fascination for amateur photographs and snapshots, especially of cars, often his own, which he uses as his starting point. From 1978 until 1999 he taught at the San Francisco State University and still lives there.