Looking at Whistler: A Conversation / Robert Bechtle and Barclay Simpson
Included with museum admission
Writing about internationally acclaimed Bay Area artist Robert Bechtle’s recent watercolors and drawings, critic Robert Storr noted an “imposed stillness” and inherent poetry that recall the tonal harmonies of James McNeill Whistler. Bechtle has in fact long acknowledged Whistler’s influence on his own explorations of light and atmosphere, as particular to the Bay Area as his distinctive scenes of middle-class San Francisco neighborhoods.
Bechtle will join Barclay Simpson, a major collector of Whistler’s graphic work, to discuss this nineteenth-century expatriate American artist. The conversation is programmed in conjunction with the exhibition Indeterminate Stillness: Looking at Whistler, which celebrates the gift by longtime BAM/PFA supporters Sharon and Barclay Simpson of sixty-two prints, including those from Whistler’s two most important series, focusing on Venice and on the Thames.
Moderated by Chief Curator and Director of Programs and Collections Lucinda Barnes, who organized the exhibition, the program will explore, freshly and informally, the ways both artist and collector look at Whistler—his design, tonalism, and overall vision.