Along with Richard Estes, Chuck Close, and Ralph Goings, Bechtle is one of the earliest Photorealists. Working from his own photographs, Bechtle creates paintings described as photographic. Taking inspiration from his local San Francisco surroundings, he painted friends and family and the neighbourhoods and street scenes, paying special attention to automobiles.
His paintings reveal his perspective on how things look to him, the colour and the light of a commonplace scene.
Robert Bechtle, Agua Caliente Nova, 1975
Robert Bechtle is an American painter, born in San Francisco, California, in 1932.
Besides making paintings, watercolours, and drawings—he is an printmaker. Bechtle began in lithography but, after 1982 when Crown Point Press began publishing his prints, he worked mainly in etching.
His work has been exhibited internationally and is in the collections of New York City’s Museum of Modern Art.
How he works:
He first takes various pictures from a scene and then selects one and projects it on the wall. Then he draws with a pencil and a ruler. After that he begins to paint exactly and concentrated, using a a thin brush. First he paints everything in brown, then in colours, and finally he puts light effects on.
Crown Point Press:
The copperplate is first coated with an acid-resistant substance, called the etching ground. In hard ground etching the artist draws through a hard wax that coats the plate. When the paper is lifted off, it removes the wax where the pencil pressed, but some wax stays in the lines in the pattern of the paper grain.
Photorealism is a multimedia art, because without photos these paintings would not exist. So the two media, photography and painting, are working together.