David Richard Gallery Represents the Sonia Gechtoff Estate
SONIA GECHTOFF A Selection of Paintings from the New York Years
Sonia Gechtoff Sea Door, 1960 Oil on canvas 97" x 51”
David Richard Gallery Represents the Sonia Gechtoff Estate David Richard Gallery, LLC 211 East 121 ST | New York, NY 10035 P: (212) 882-1705 www.davidrichardgallery.com
Sonia Gechtoff Garden, Wave and Waterfall, 2001 Acrylic and graphite on canvas 60” x 60”
Gechtoff moved from San Francisco to New York in 1958. While her paintings remained pure abstractions, several aesthetic and formal aspects of her work also changed with the geographical shift. In particular, her interest in earth elements, landscape and architecture became more prevalent in her work with representational elements incorporated in her abstract compositions. Gechtoff’s paintings remained gestural, full of bold, confident strokes, full of color and commanding ones full attention in any space. Fire, smoke, wind and waves became her focus in several paintings, others strongly referenced celestial bodies, the moon, sun and stars, while other compositional elements were evocative of mountains, trees and skies. Suggestions of columns, arcs and portals became framing devices as well as part of the composition. In her later years, Gechtoff moved from oil to acrylic paint. She traded in her palette knife for graphite to emphasize and maintain strong gestures, shadows and aesthetic emphasis.
Gechtoff never stopped painting, creating or re-inventing herself. She was a true artist in every sense of the word – committed and passionate about her work, her process and her career.
Sonia Gechtoff Hudson River Skies Red, 2011 Acrylic on canvas 40" x 30”
About Sonia Gechtoff (1926-2018):
Sonia Gechtoff, was born and raised in Philadelphia. After graduating in 1950 from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, she moved to San Francisco in 1951 where she was greatly influenced by the painting of Clyfford Still. She taught at the California School of Fine Art working alongside Hassel Smith and Elmer Bischoff and associated with other Bay Area Abstract Expressionist painters such as Madeleine Diamond, Lilly Fenichel, Deborah Remington, Jay DeFeo and James Kelly, who she later married. San Francisco had a tremendous impact on Gechtoff, she was very much involved in the unique cultural scene and felt the local support. It is where she had her greatest career achievements, such as developing her bold use of the palette knife to create long, sharp strokes of pigment across the canvas and the corresponding early recognition with solo exhibitions at the San Francisco Museum of Art (currently SFMoMA) and De Young Museum. Gechtoff moved to New York in 1958 and worked there until she passed away in early 2018. Given her interests in figuration, architecture, landscape and earth elements, representational elements became more prevalent in her paintings and drawings, while abstraction and gestural brush strokes remained constant. She switched from oil to acrylic paint and traded the palette knife for graphite to maintain strong defining strokes and boundaries in her work.
Gechtoff’s artworks are included in the permanent collections of the Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland; Achenbach Foundation, California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco; Denver Art Museum, Colorado; The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Academy of Design, New York; Oakland Museum of Art, California; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California; Museum of Art, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California; and Worcester Museum of Art, Massachusetts, among others. Most recently, her paintings were included in the very important exhibition, Women of Abstract Expressionism at the Denver Museum of Art in 2016 that subsequently traveled to the Mint Museum and the Palm Springs Museum of Art in 2017.