Scope and Contents
The Robert Bechtle papers measure 13.9 linear feet and date from circa 1930s-2020. The collection documents his career as a photorealist painter in the San Francisco Bay area. Series include biographical material, correspondence, personal business records, exhibition and gallery records, writings which include artist statements interviews and texts by others, teaching files, printed material, photographic material and artwork.
Biographical material includes military service documents including infantry yearbooks, as well as academic records and degrees for Bechtle and his mother, who continued her education later in life. Also included are highschool yearbooks, the senior year issue featuring art direction from Bechtle, as well as resumes and other supplemental material used by Bechtle's employing institutions to grant sabbaticals and other paid leave. Correspondence is mostly from galleries and museums, in addition to letters from various peers. Also included are letters of recommendation written by Bechtle for faculty or graduate art programs, as well as numerous letters by Bechtle to his mother while he was in the military, including photographs of his travels in Europe, especially Germany. Personal business records include grant applications, applications for sabbatical and other paid leave, as well as studio expenses, planners, and miscellaneous travel documents. Exhibition and gallery records include planning documents for key exhibitions, correspondence, financial documents including sales information, and printed materials from galleries Bechtle worked with over the years, as well as mailing lists, print catalogs, print documentation, and inventory records.
Writings include artist statements and interviews, schoolwork including art history and philosophy papers and notebooks, and academic papers written on Bechtle's work. Teaching materials include lessons, readings, materials lists and syllabi particularly concerning painting, design and printmaking courses at San Francisco State University and other schools.
Printed material includes press clipping and a press scrapbook, as well as invitations and posters, press releases and exhibition catalogs, as well as other types of publications featuring Bechtle's artwork and miscellaneous books and pamphlets from Bachtle's European travel.Photographic material includes photographs of Bechtle and his friends and family, his classmates at CCAC and his military colleagues in Germany. Also included are photographs and slides of artwork by Bechtle and others, as well as photographs and slides used to make Bechtle's photorealistic paintings, drawings, and prints. The artwork series includes childhood and early career drawings including sketchbooks by Bechtle, as well as original materials made by Bechtle for his design work including the Kaiser Company, as well as watercolor and tempera works on paper including demonstration works made in the classroom setting.