I felt quite proud when I managed to find the location used by photorealist painter Robert Bechtle for his most famous painting, Gran Torino Alameda. But my accomplishment was nothing, it turns out.
After all, I live in Alameda, just a few blocks from the easily identifiable neighborhood in the southeastern corner of the island in which so many of Bechtle's paintings are set, so all I had to do was perform a bit of detective work and a couple miles of walking. Not so for relentless French artist Philippe Agostini, who appears to have invested hundreds of hours of Google Street View time to locate the settings of several of Bechtle's best works.
Because of my fascination with Bechtle's work, my posts show up pretty high in search results for the painter's name, and so Mr. Agostini decided to contact me. My French is nonexistent- pretty much limited to transmission automatique- and Mr. Agostini's English has its limitations, but eventually he was able to make it clear that he wanted me to get him some photos of the setting for Bechtle's 2006 painting Six Houses On Mound Street. So I did.
Next thing I know, he's got what appears to be a heavy-duty analysis of Bechtle's work on his website, complete with cryptic diagrams.