Visual Arts

Sonia Gechtoff: Art work

Gechtoff, Sonia

My father was a painter originally from Odessa, Ukraine who traveled the world with my mother before I was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1926. He encouraged me to be a painter and had me sit beside him at his easel with a brush and paints and beginning at age six he was there to spur me on. When I came to San Francisco, California in 1951 I found the major turning point for my future life as a painter. From the academic approach to painting I learned in art school, I went to totally abstract work, particularly influenced by the paintings of Clyfford Still who had been a major force at the California School of Fine Arts just previous to my arrival. Although I never studied with him, I saw several wonderful examples of what he had been doing and that opened a door for me. My paintings are abstract with suggestions of architecture and nature and occasionally, the figure. During the last six months I have worked in a way similar to the energetic way I painted 50 years ago in San Francisco. Drawing is always as important to me as is painting and I look forward to documenting it all. My work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, San Francisco MOMA, the Whitney Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Baltimore Museum of Art, and the Menil Collection, Houston, Texas, among many others. I have been exhibiting since 1948 and my most recent exhibition was of 1950s paintings at Nyehaus Gallery, NYC in 2011. The catalog of that show can be seen online at There is also an interview by Faye Hirsch, Senior Editor at Art in America which can be seen online at An article titled “Can We Still Learn to Speak Martian” by John Yau written for Hyperallergic, an online art magazine dated April 29, 2012 discusses my early work along with other Bay Area painters.



  • thumnail for application/zip 257 MB Download File

More About This Work

Academic Units
Research Center for Arts and Culture
Published Here
September 26, 2013


For more information about the Art Cart project, please visit their website: