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Robert Bechtle (American, b.1932)

Paintings

Also known as:  Bechtle, Robert Alan

Birth Place: San Francisco (San Francisco county, California, United States)

Biography:

Who is painter Robert Bechtle?

Robert Becthle is a prominent painter in the Photorealist movement. His work started in the 1960s, pulling largely from his home city of San Francisco for his inspiration. Bechtle’s work is often sought out for its nostalgic qualities, but is something that the artist himself may reject -- his paintings are highly personal and often are painted from his own photographs. Bechtle’s brushwork is something to behold, barely detectable even upon close observation.

His work has found many fans in the art community. The New Yorker once wrote a glowing review of an exhibition in 1969 that said his pieces were, “a feat of resourceful painterly artifice” that highlighted both the ordinariness and extraordinariness of everyday life. Bechtle’s work has been exhibited internationally several times. His paintings reside in the permanent collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Oakland Museum of California, the Met, the Whitney, the Guggenheim, the Walker in Minneapolis, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, among others.

What kind of art does Robert Bechtle make?

Robert Bechtle makes Photorealist paintings, almost always with oil on canvas. His work is considered part of the vanguard of that movement, often put alongside other luminaries like John Baeder and Richard Estes. Overwhelmingly, these pieces come from photographs from the artist’s personal collection -- portraying family scenes, neighborhoods, and vintage automobiles. These pieces are anything but facile, through the artist’s technique Bechtle is able to give his own unique point of view that doesn’t resolve as easily as a first glance would have you believe. He teaches at SF State and has lived in Potrero Hill since the 1960s.

How did painter Robert Bechtle get started?

Robert Bechtle was born in San Francisco in 1932. Encouraged by friends, family, and his teacher to pursue his artistic talents, Bechtle’s career began when he submitted a portfolio of his art to a national competition and won a year-long scholarship to the school of his choice. Bechtle settled on the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland. He received his BFA in painting in 1954 then followed it with an MFA in 1958. After graduation, the young artist traveled to Berlin where he painted murals and spent time soaking up the grand traditions of European painters. Bechtle returned to his native San Francisco sometime in the 1960s and began teaching at UC Berkeley, his paintings achieving national recognition in 1969.

How much are Robert Bechtle paintings worth?

Robert Becthle paintings are extremely valuable. It’s unlikely to see one sell for under $10,000 on the low end, and can reach as high as $450,000 or more on the high end. The most ever paid for a Robert Alan Bechtle painting at auction is $482,500 for the piece S.F. Cadillac (1975) which sold on May 12th, 2010. This is hardly an outlier, in the last ten years, Becthle has had several of his car paintings sell for well over $400,000. His pieces are appreciated by even casual collectors for their technique, beauty, and popular subject matter.

Where to buy Robert Bechtle paintings for sale?

See the works for sale below. Why buy from Heritage? Art buyers feel confident because our experts know the market and put careful valuations on the artwork for sale. We make the bidding process easier to help you expand your art collection.

How to value Robert Bechtle paintings?

The best way to value art is to compare past auction prices for similar works. View past sale prices below. When you’re ready to sell, contact Heritage Auctions to request an auction estimate of the likely selling price at auction. If you need a formal written appraisal for estate planning or insurance, please contact our Appraisal Services Department.


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Robert Bechtle Original Art values sold at auction

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