Fred Reichman, a noted San Francisco painter and teacher whose distinctive works have been widely exhibited internationally as well as throughout California and the Bay Area, died at an Alzheimer's facility in Yuba City last Thursday after a long illness. He was 80.
Critics praised his works for their "compositional tautness," and their frequent use of luminous whites and yellows. "The paintings of Fred Reichman are just plain magical," one critic wrote.
For many years before his illness, Mr. Reichman taught classes in painting and also in the perception of art -- from the classics to the ultramodern -- at the University of California Extension in San Francisco. Earlier he had also taught at UC Davis and at various schools and colleges in the Bay Area.
Major galleries presented one-man shows of Mr. Reichman's works in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and Taos, N.M., as well as in Japan and Germany. His paintings are also in the permanent collections of many American museums, including San Francisco's Museum of Modern Art, and the UC Berkeley Art Museum.
He once described his style as a California painter this way: "There is a unique energy that exists on the Pacific Coast. It is different from our Eastern Seaboard, different from the art of Europe and the Orient -- yet it comes out of all these sources to create inspiration and fresh insights. The light and the land, the atmosphere that exists here, has its own particular ambience. I feel a part of this energy."
Fredrick Thomas Reichman was born in Bellingham, Wash., where his grandfather, who was a carpenter as well as a painter, first taught him to paint and draw at the age of 9. He served in the Navy during World War II and earned his bachelor's and master's degrees at UC Berkeley. At Cal, he won a graduate fellowship for travel and study in Europe, where he used Paris as his home base to paint and to study the work of masters such as Piero della Francesco in Italy and El Greco in Spain.
In the years after his return from Europe, Mr. Reichman also studied at the San Francisco Art Institute, where he later taught. And because his own enthusiasm for painting had begun as a child, he also taught children's classes for several years at the Junior Center of Art and Science in Oakland.
His wife, Michela, the former assistant chancellor for communication at the UCSF, died in 2002.
Surviving are his daughter, Alexandra of Yuba City; his son, Matthew of Los Angeles; two sisters, Rikki Smith of Elk Grove (Sacramento County) and Lou Carden of Napa; and a grandson, Colt Reichman of Los Angeles.
Contributions in Mr. Reichman's memory may be made to the Children's Programs of the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum Education Department in Golden Gate Park, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, San Francisco, CA 94118.
A memorial gathering will be held on Dec. 10 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Reichman family home, 1235 Stanyan St., San Francisco, CA 94117.
This article appeared on page B - 7 of the San Francisco Chronicle
Fred Reichman was a well-known artist and art instructor. He was born in 1925 in Bellingham, Washington and moved to San Francisco in 1934. After receiving his B.A. and M.A. from UC Berkley and living in Europe for two years on a UC Berkley Taussig fellowship, he taught at the University of California at Berkeley, the University of California at Davis, San Francisco Art Institute and the University of California extension in San Francisco. He died in 2005.