1. Hans and Bessie Bechtler
Andreas Bechtler's parents, Hans and Bessie, lived in Zurich, Switzerland, where they began to collect art in the 1950s, about the time their son was born. Their first purchase was the Edgar Degas bather, but they quickly turned to living artists. Hans, who founded Pneumafil Corp. with his brother, Walter, also filled their workplace with art. When the Bechtlers bought a summer home in southern Switzerland, they became friends with members of an artists colony, including Ben Nicholson, Julius Bissier, Italo Valenti, Marino Marini and others who would become pillars of midcentury Modern art. The Bechtlers and their children visited the artists' studios, talked with them about their processes and dined with them. Bessie, an avid golfer and pianist, arranged concerts for their friends at home. Hans was board chairman of Zurich's Modern art museum, Kunsthaus, for many years, and he helped found the Alberto Giacometti Foundation, which restored a significant collection of that artist's work to his homeland. Hans commissioned the Andy Warhol portraits of his family in 1973. Hans and Bessie's art was inherited by Andreas and his sister, Dany, in 2001.
2. Andreas Bechtler
Born in 1941, Andreas Bechtler holds a doctorate in economics from the University of Fribourg in Switzerland. He came to Charlotte with Pneumafil Corp. in the early 1970s and sold his interest in 1998. In his youth, Andreas pursued his own artistic work and was mentored by his Ascona neighbors - Ben Nicholson, Italo Valenti and Julius Bissier. He has served on the board of the Mint Museum of Art and developed a compound of artist studios, Little Italy Peninsula Arts Center, on 300 acres at Mountain Island Lake.
Never miss a local story.
3. Dany Bechtler Bucher
Andreas' sister, Dany, lives near Zurich with her husband, Tony Bucher, and three daughters, where they are avid supporters of the city's modern art museum, Kunsthaus. She inherited half of the Bechtler arts collection. She will be in Charlotte for the museum's opening gala.
4. Natascha Bechtler
A native of St. Moritz, she was married to Andreas at the time this portrait was made. They were together 27 years and divorced in 1989. Natascha trained in piano at Zurich Conservatory and lives in Charlotte, where she has devoted many hours to the Charlotte Symphony, Friends of Music at Queens and Davidson College Friends of the Arts.
5. Fiona Bechtler-Levin
The oldest daughter of Andreas and Natascha studied international business at Georgetown University and lives in the San Diego area, where she is married to Scott Bechtler-Levin and has two children. The couple helped found the independent college prep Pacific Ridge school, whose mission is to teach students to act ethically locally and globally.
6. Tanja Bechtler
Middle daughter Tanja graduated from the N.C. School of the Arts and Manhattan School of Music. She is a former cellist with the Charlotte Symphony. She and her husband, classical guitarist Bob Teixeira, now perform together and have released a CD, "Shade Grown." They have one son.
7. Vivi Bechtler-Smith
She was 2 years old when this portrait was made. She graduated from Virginia Tech, where she studied marketing. She lives in Charlotte and is married to Bill Smithl; they have one daughter. She works in Web site design and is helping plan Charlotte Emergency Housing's April fundraiser.