I found the photorealistic artwork of Robert Bechtle when I stumbled upon a photo of "News Stands, Los Banos, 1973". Bechtle's work is serene even though many of his paintings take place in cities (San Francisco specifically). His work feels like an early morning with its long light and absence of crowds. Bechtle's work shows the mediocrity of life. Simple living at its finest. The middle class when there still was such a term.
He started drawing at a young age and with encouragement from his teachers and family, pursued a future as an artist. Bechtle won a scholarship that paid for his first year of college by submitting a portfolio of artwork to a national competition. After graduating from the California College of Arts and Crafts (now the California College of the Arts), he was drafted into the U.S Army and sent to Berlin, where he painted murals in the mess hall and delighted in visiting European museums. Besides making paintings, watercolors, and drawings, he is an accomplished printmaker: he worked in lithography early in his career and mainly in etching after 1982 when Crown Point Press began publishing his prints.
He taught at San Francisco State University from 1978 to 1999. Bechtle lives and works in the Potrero Hill neighborhood of San Francisco, California.
Robert Bechtle's work has been exhibited internationally and is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney and the Guggenheim in New York, as well as the Walker Art Center, the Smithsonian Institution and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
You can see more of his work here and a New York Times article here.
"News Stands, Los Banos, 1973"