Jonathan Novak has been an important source for contemporary American and European art since 1978. With a wide-ranging inventory consisting of paintings, drawings, sculpture, and prints, one may find significant examples by Milton Avery, John Baeder, Robert Bechtle, Fernando Botero, Alexander Calder, Joseph Cornell, Richard Diebenkorn, Jim Dine, Jean Dubuffet, Richard Estes, Sam Francis, Helen Frankenthaler, Ralph Goings, David Hockney, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Motherwell, Mimmo Paladino, James Rosenquist, Ed Ruscha, Saul Steinberg, Frank Stella, Donald Sultan, Wayne Thiebaud, Andy Warhol, and Tom Wesselmann.
Jonathan has been an inveterate exhibitor at international art fairs in Chicago, Miami, Palm Beach, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York and is a member of the Private Art Dealers of America (PADA), the International Fine Print Dealers of America (IFPDA) as well as the Fine Art Dealers Association (FADA).
Jonathan Novak Contemporary Art is located in Century City, California, one-half mile west of the Beverly Hills Penninsula Hotel.
Robert BechtleBiography of the Artist
Burbank Street, Alameda
California painter, Robert Bechtle (born in 1932, San Francisco), was part of the photorealist movement on the the West Coast. Bechtle used paint as texture in his paintings, and one can barely detect brushwork in his photo-like renditions. He took inspiration from his local San Francisco surroundings, painting neighborhoods, friends, family, and street scenes, paying special attention to automobiles. His paintings reveal his perspective on how things look to him, the color and the light of a commonplace scene. Biography Robert Bechtle (1932 - ) Robert Bechtle was born in 1932 in San Francisco. He graduated from the California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland with a BA in 1954 and an MFA in 1958, and has taught at UC Berkeley, UC Davis, and San Francisco State. He has exhibited his work since 1957, and has been included in group exhibitions in some of America's most prestigious institutions (including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art). In addition, his work has been seen in exhibitions throughout the world, including Japan and Germany. He has worked in pencil, oil, acrylic, and watercolor, and has successfully experimented with printmaking. His work is represented in numerous museum and private collections throughout the country. Curriculum Vitae Robert Bechtle 1932 Born in San Francisco, CA 1954 California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, CA: B.F.A. 1958 California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, CA: M.F.A. 1960 - 1961 University of California, Berkeley, CA Lives in San Francisco, CA Selected Exhibitions 2006 “Full House,” Whitney Museum of American Art, New York 2006 "Robert Bechtle: A Retrospective,” Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D. C. 2006 “Infinite Painting, “ Villa Manin Centro d’ Art Contemporanea, Codroipo, Italy 2005 "Robert Bechtle: A Retrospective,” San Francisco Museum of Modern Art 2005 Gallery Paul Anglim, San Francisco, CA 2005 "Robert Bechtle: A Retrospective,” Modern Art Museum of Ft. Worth 2002 “New York Renaissance: Masterworks from the Collection of the Whitney Museum,” Palazzo Reale, Milan, Italy 2002 “American Standard: (Para)Normality and Everyday Life,” Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York, NY 2001 “Looking At You,” Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 2001 “Les Annees Pop” Centre Pompidou, Paris, France 2001 O.K. Harris Works of Art, New York, NY 2000 Gallery Paul Anglim, San Francisco, CA 2000 “Urban Realism,” Blain Fine Art, London, UK 2000 “Made in California: Art, Image, and Identity, 1900-2000,” Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA 2000 “Drawings 2000,” Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York, NY 2000 “A Century of the American Dream,” Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art, Nagoya: Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Modern Art, Kobe, Japan 1999 “The American Century: Art and Culture, 1950-2000,” Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY 1997 “Thirty-five Years at Crown Point Press,” National Gallery of Art, Washington DC; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 1997 “Watercolors” O.K. Harris Works of Art, New York, NY 1996 Gallery Paul Anglim, San Francisco, CA/ O.K. Harris Works of Art, New York, NY 1996 “CCAC: Past, Present, and Future (1906-1996),” Oliver Art Center, California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, CA 1992 O.K. Harris Works of Art, New York, NY 1991 “Robert Bechtle: New Work,” San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA 1987 O.K. Harris Works of Art, New York, NY 1984 O.K. Harris Works of Art, New York, NY Statement I am interested in how things look; I am also interested in painting that is based upon how things look. I like to see things the way they are rather than thinking how they can be changed. The richness and range of the visual world constantly thrills and amazes me. I am most particularly interested in using the part of our world which we seem to notice least...that is, our everyday surroundings as we live day to day. Thus, I have painted friends and family, familiar houses, streets and neighborhoods. The paintings are on one level, about middle class American life as experienced in California. On another, they are about reconciling that subject matter with concerns about formal painting issues (the use of color and light, design, and the kinds of marks one must make to replicate appearances). They are, in that sense, a part of a long tradition of European and American painting which has sought to find significance in the details of the commonplace. - - Robert Bechtle, 1990, OK Harris Press Release Art Market Guide 2005 by Richard Polsky When you hear the term "Photorealism," Robert Bechtle is not exactly the first name that springs to mind. Yet, according to Louis Meisel, the dean of Photorealist dealers, Robert Bechtle invented Photorealism somewhere between 1963 and 1964. As most people know, Photorealism is a style in which the painter works from a snapshot to portray his subject matter in a highly realistic manner. Some, like Chuck Close, took it to an extreme. He would use an airbrush to paint giant portraits of his friends, paintings that are so realistic that you can view every blemish and pore on the "victim's" face. Then there is Richard Estes, who concentrates on the urban landscape. Estes' twist is to paint the reflections in glass storefronts, which creates miniature abstract paintings within the picture. Other recognized practitioners include Richard McLean (horses), Charles Bell (pinball and gumball machines) and Ralph Goings (pickup trucks and diner interiors). Although Robert Bechtle works from photographs, and paints with great precision, his work never seems as slick as the other artists. Instead, Bechtle's work feels more like pure realism. Bechtle is a meticulous painter whose work is more about atmosphere than reproduction. Currently, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is hosting a Robert Bechtle retrospective. Many of the early pictures portray ordinary cars like Fords and Chevys. Some are parked beside white stucco middle-class homes, their owners posed in front of them. These images resonate -- anyone who ever spent time in suburbia can relate to them. Bechtle's work is simultaneously invigorating and depressing. At first glance, you marvel at the care that toes into each picture: the controlled brushwork, the muted but accurate colors and the nicely cropped compositions. But then you're brought down by the work's coldness. Fortunately, Bechtle developed as an artist and his work began to warm up. Although he has continued to focus on the streets and homes in San Francisco's Sunset District, his work become a bit more painterly -- without the loss of any of his wonderful atmosphere. From a market viewpoint, the retrospective revealed that Bechtle created relatively few paintings. Most are already in private collections and only a handful are for sale. Those few works that are available were listed as "Courtesy of Gallery Paule Anglim and the Barbara Gladstone Gallery." When I noticed the latter, a touch of sadness came over me. After 30 years, the artist is no longer with his original sponsor, Ivan Karp of the O.K. Harris Gallery. I gave Ivan (now 79 years old) a call and was greeted with his usual enthusiasm, "Polsky, what's happening baby?!" After some small talk, I popped the question, "Why did Robert Bechtle leave you after all of these years?" Without a touch of bitterness, but with a sense of humor, Karp blurted out, "Money! Why else?" Money, indeed. With Karp's words ringing in my ears, I phoned Bechtle's new Manhattan dealer, the highly regarded Barbara Gladstone Gallery. I asked Gladstone about Bechtle's recent work, specifically requesting the price of a new painting. She declined to answer, saying that the gallery prefers not to give out that sort of information. But by piecing together figures provided by other sources, I was able to conclude that a new painting would run $75,000-$80,000, a new watercolor $25,000-$30,000, and a new print $2,000. If these figures are in the ballpark, and I believe they are, then Robert Bechtle's work is a bargain. As far as the auctions go, Bechtle is more of a bench-warmer than a player. His work rarely appears. During 2003 and 2004, nothing at all came up for sale. However, there is a secondary market. Louis Meisel claims that vintage Bechtle paintings from the 1960s and 1970s are $200,000. Once again, that's a deal. At auction, early works by Close are almost $3 million (if you can find one), an Estes is around $400,000-$600,000, and a Charles Bell goes for $300,000-$400,000. A Ralph Goings brings $150,000-$350,000 and a Richard McLean sells for $100,000-$150,000. In terms of historical significance, I would rank Bechtle above McLean and just a shade below Ralph Goings. At 73, Bechtle is still actively working. His well-received museum show confirmed that he should stay the course. At the end of the day, chances are Bechtle will never escape his Photorealist tag. But if he does go down in art history as more of a pure realist, the value of his work could easily shoot by most of the others from the Photorealist genre. RICHARD POLSKY is a private contemporary art dealer in San Francisco and the author of I Bought Andy Warhol. Comments can be directed to: Polskyart@msn.com