Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Bechtle's Subtle Observations about Daily Life

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Bechtle's Subtle Observations about Daily Life

Article excerpt

Thirty years ago Robert Bechtle became famous for paintings that resembled snapshots of suburban California. "Those images are about where and how I and my family have lived," he said. "It may not be perfect, but it's not something I can turn my back on."

His painting " '61 Pontiac" was based on a photograph of himself, his first wife, and their two children. Today, when so much art either celebrates or is a satire of the banal, " '61 Pontiac" looks almost fashionable. But when Bechtle began the painting in 1968, he was striving for art that didn't resemble anything else.

During the 1960s, much of the highly regarded painting of the San Francisco Bay Area combined realistic subject matter with spectacular brushwork, as if to remind the viewer that this was art with a capital A. Bechtle chose a gentler approach: He wanted his paintings to look like snapshots, so that the viewer wouldn't feel coerced to be impressed by his work. Nor would the viewer have a ready-made opinion to deal with: Bechtle wasn't trying to make statements about suburbs or families or cars. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.