Richard Estes

United States 1932

Hyperrealism, Photorealism

Richard Estes
Richard Estes
United States
December 4, 2014

The interest in intersecting the city with traditional media of painting led Richard Estes of establishing prolific, outstandingly realistic and significant oeuvre. The very choice of themes navigated him in peculiar examinations of the city infrastructure respectively of its compositions, colors, and shapes. Although Estes is indeed one of the pioneering figures of Photo Realism, the domains of his artistic practice go far beyond that fact due to its strong conceptual foundation. His paintings are purified and idealized representations of emptied spaces without a human presence which lead us on concluding they are thought as displays of utopia; different realms released of any tension, noise and fuss which shapes our everyday urban experience.

The works of american photorealist were on view in various museums and galleries and published in press
Richard Estes – Nedick’s – image via pinterest

Artistic Development

Richard Estes was born in Kewanee, Illinois in 1932. From 1952 to 1956 he studied fine arts at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and found himself inspired by realist painters such as Edgar Degas, Edward Hopper, and Thomas Eakins. Shortly after graduation, Estes moved to New York City and worked as a graphic artist with magazine publishers and advertising agencies for ten years. He also spent time living and working in Spain. By 1966, Richard Estes was able to focus solely on painting and in 1968 had first solo exhibition 1968 at the Allan Stone Gallery.

Richard Estes was quite influenced by the works of Venetian vedute painters

In privacy of his home the artist prepared photographs which were then used for paintings
Richard Estes – Cafe Express – image via pinterest

One Of The Founders of Photo Realism

Estes’s early works depict random passers in everyday activities, while with the ones from the end of the 60’s the artist became more focused on storefronts and buildings with glass windows and, more importantly, the reflected images shown in these windows, automobiles, and chrome.These paintings were based on color photographs he took; they have captured the astonishing reflections, which would change with the lighting and the time of day. Urban cityscapes are reflective, clean, and inanimate, and they function as some freeze frames of depleted reality. Therefore, Richard Estes is regarded as one of the founders of the international photo-realist movement of the late 1960s, with such painters as Audrey Flack or Duane Hanson.

The artist was known for strong pictorial composition

You can contact gallery in order to sing in and receive email about auction of his paintings
Richard Estes – Bus with reflections of the Flatiron building, 1967 – image via pinterest

The Process of Richard Estes

In general use of photographs as the base for the each painting itself was Estes’s main principle. Interestingly, whenever the composition included stickers, signs, and window displays, they were always depicted backward because of the reflection. Although the artist has applied a certain amount of alteration in order to accentuate better the overall aesthetic effect, his main task was to maintain the central and the main reflected objects recognizable. The artist exclusively depicted sets during daylight hours, suggesting calm, tranquility, and vacancy. His striving to create convincing three-dimensionality on a two-dimensional canvas was quite fruitful, so his work has been described with a variety of terms, ranging from super-realism, sharp-focus realism, neo-realism, photo-realism, to radical realism.

Urban sights of Richard Estes deprived of human interaction

In order to view works of american artist contact gallery home page sign in according to privacy
Richard Estes -Telephone Booths, 1968 – image via pinterest

The Stories Of The City

The works of Richard Estes are not only finely executed pieces of art, they are important and authentic documents of former city mapping and provide us powerful insight in urban development. By looking at his paintings we can follow odd and unexpected angles, extreme and unusual cropping, and multiple images which provide us with the artist strong impressions on the economical and architectural growth of the city. On the other hand, the very choice of precise and realistic display of these cityscapes suggest the importance of cinematic experience which gives Estes’s work additional pop (art) quality.

One of the most accomplished painters in defining and presenting the urban landscape

Richard Estes - 560, 1972 - image via moderndesign
Richard Estes – 560, 1972 – image via moderndesign

Richard Estes – Master of Photo Realism

Through the years, the fame of Estes grow and his works have also been exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum, the Thyssen-Bornemisza, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. The artist was granted a National Council for the Arts fellowship in 1971 and the same year was elected to the National Academy of Design as an Associate member, and he became a full Academician in 1984. Although it might be said that his opus is dedicated to the city of New York, he avoided its landmarks. The paintings of Richard Estas provided fine detail that was invisible to the naked eye, so they reflect immense craftsmanship, artistry, but the well thought concepts as well.

Richard Estes lives and works in New York.

Featured image: Portrait of Richard Estes – image courtesy of Ackermans fine art
All images used are for illustrative purposes only

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group 
2014Richard Estes: RealismSmithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DCSolo
2014Richard Estes - RealismPortland Museum of Art, Portland, MESolo
2014HomeESMoA, El Segundo, CAGroup
2014HiperrealismoMuseo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, BilbaoGroup
2014Photorealism: The Everyday IlluminatedJonathan Novak Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2014Pulled, Pressed And Screened: Important American PrintsMuseum of the Southwest, Midland, TXGroup
2014Photorealism RevistedMana Contemporary, Jersey City, NJGroup
2013PhotorealismBirmingham Museum & Art Gallery, BirminghamGroup
2013Hyperreal - More than Pop!Moderne Galerie & Studiogalerie, SaarbrückenGroup
2013Botero, Estes, ValdésMarlborough Monaco, MonacoGroup
2013Summer Group ExhibitionMarlborough Chelsea, New York City, NYGroup
2013OP + POPStaatsgalerie Stuttgart, StuttgartGroup
2013Hyperrealism 1967-2012Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, MadridGroup
2013Hiperrealismo: 1967-2012Louis K. Meisel Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2013Il Guggenheim. L'avanguardia americana 1945–1980Palazzo delle Esposizioni, RomeGroup
2013Water MusicGeorgia Museum of Art, Athens, GAGroup
2013Photorealism RevisitedOklahoma City Museum of Art, Oklahoma City, OKGroup
2013Photorealism RevisitedLouis K. Meisel Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2013Double Feature - Art And The MoviesDes Moines Art Center, Des Moines, IAGroup
2013PrintWoodward Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2012New York by NightMarlborough Chelsea, New York City, NYSolo
2012The Urban LandscapeSims Reed Gallery, LondonSolo
2012Photorealism - Painting with a CameraKunsthalle Tübingen, TübingenGroup
2012Exposition de groupeMarlborough Monaco, MonacoGroup
2012Under Pressure: Contemporary Prints from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family FoundationJoslyn Art Museum, Omaha, NEGroup
2012Leben Mit Pop!Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig, LeipzigGroup
2012MultiplicityArkansas Arts Center, Little Rock, ARGroup
2012Group exhibitionMarlborough Monaco, MonacoGroup
2012Summer Group ExhibitionMarlborough Chelsea, New York City, NYGroup
2012ReFocus: Art of the 1970sMOCA - Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, Jacksonville, FLGroup
2012Optical NoiseDavid Winton Bell Gallery, Providence, RIGroup
2011New York For SaleKatonah Museum of Art, Katonah, NYGroup
2011East of Eden - Photorealism: Versions of RealityLudwig Museum - Museum of Contemporary Art, BudapestGroup
2011Recent AcquisitionsReading Public Museum, Reading, PAGroup
2011Summer Group ExhibitionMarlborough Chelsea, New York City, NYGroup
2011Group ShowMarlborough Chelsea, New York City, NYGroup
2011Scream Collection Part IIScream London, LondonGroup
2011Hyper Real – Kunst und Amerika um 1970Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst, AachenGroup
2011Group ShowMarlborough Chelsea, New York City, NYGroup
2011Graphics Group ExhibitionMarlborough Chelsea, New York City, NYGroup
2010Richard EstesMarlborough Monaco, MonacoSolo
2010Hyper RealMuseum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig - MUMOK , ViennaGroup
2010The Adventure of Reality International RealismKunsthal Rotterdam, RotterdamGroup
2010RealismusKunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung, MunichGroup
2010Unmistakable Sentences - The Collection RevisitedLudwig Museum - Museum of Contemporary Art - Budapest, BudapestGroup
2010Group ExhitionMarlborough Chelsea, New York City, NYGroup
2010Small Paintings from Around the World, Part IIBernarducci.Meisel.Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2010Realismus - das Abenteuer der Wirklichkeit. Courbet - Hopper - GurskyKunsthalle in Emden,EmdenGroup
2010PhotorealismDavid Owsley Museum of Art, Muncie, INGroup
2010Winter Group ShowMarlborough Chelsea, New York City, NYGroup
2009American DreamNational Museum in Cracow, Muzeum Narodowe w Krakowie, KrakowGroup
2009Pop Up!Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst, AachenGroup
2009Picturing America: Fotorealismus der 70er JahreDeutsche Guggenheim, BerlinGroup
2009It's About Time601Artspace, New York City, NYGroup
2009Paintings and Sculpture by Gallery ArtistsMarlborough Chelsea, New York City, NYGroup
2008EstesMarlborough Chelsea, New York City, NYSolo
2008Shock of the Real: Photorealism RevisitedBoca Museum of Art, Boca Raton, FLGroup
2008Here Is Every. Four Decades of Contemporary ArtMoMA - Museum of Modern Art, New York City, NYGroup
2008Works on PaperBernarducci.Meisel.Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2008Contemporary Visions - A Focus on Jacksonville CollectionsMOCA - Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, Jacksonville, FLGroup
2007Richard Estes Solo ExhibitMuseo Thyssen-Bornemisza, MadridSolo
2007Richard EstesPalazzo Magnani, Reggio EmiliaSolo
2007Painting & SculptureMarlborough Chelsea, New York City, NYGroup
2007DruckgraphikFischer Kunsthandel & Edition, BerlinGroup
2007Wittgenstein in New YorkKunstmuseum Bayreuth, BayreuthGroup
2007Real Time: FocusBernarducci.Meisel.Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2007IperrealistiBernarducci.Meisel.Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2006Richard Estes - PrintsUniversity of Maine Museum of Arts - UMMA, Bangor, MESolo
2006Richard Estes - PrintsSusan Sheehan Gallery, New York City, NYSolo
2006Richard Estes - Recent WorkMarlborough Chelsea, New York City, NYSolo
2006StadtwerkeKunsthalle Darmstadt, DarmstadtGroup
2006SAMMELN UND ENTDECKENGalerie Schrade, KarlsruheGroup
2006Sammeln und EntdeckenGalerie Schrade & Blashofer, KarlsruheGroup
2006This is AmericaCentraal Museum, UtrechtGroup
2006MetropolitanscapePalazzo Cavour, TurinGroup
2006Spring Paper 8Woodward Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2006Variations on a Theme - American Prints from Albers to LichtensteinUSC Fisher Museum - University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2005Made for this World - Contemporary Art and the Places We BuildQueensland Art Gallery, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, QLDGroup
2005Big City: Cityscapes and Urban Life from the Collection Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZGroup
2005Wittgenstein in New YorkKupferstichkabinett, BerlinGroup
2005Hyperréalistes Américains (American Photorealism)Galerie Patrice Trigano, ParisGroup
2005Landscape - CityscapeMarlborough Chelsea, New York City, NYGroup
2005The Long View - Selections from the Norma B. Marin Collection of Maine ArtUniversity of Maine Museum of Arts - UMMA, Bangor, MEGroup
2005Winter Paper SevenWoodward Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2004Eröffnungsausstellung Sammlung Frieder BurdaMuseum Frieder Burda, Baden-BadenGroup
2004Sammlung Frieder BurdaStaatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, Baden-BadenGroup
2004Printed light - photographic vision and the modern print National Gallery of Australia,Canberra, ACTGroup
2004Defining an American Place - Selections from the Permanent CollectionKemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MOGroup
2004American PhotorealismIwate Museum of Art, MoriokaGroup
2004Get Real: Photorealist Prints from the James W. Hyams CollectionJoel and Lila Harnett Museum of Art - University of Richmond, Richmond, VAGroup
2003RICHARD ESTESGalerie Patrice Trigano, ParisSolo
2003Richard Estes Solo ShowMarlborough Monaco, MonacoSolo
2003Popular, Pop & Post-Pop: Color Screenprints 1930s to NowPhiladelphia Museum of Art,Philadelphia, PAGroup
2003Exposition de groupeMarlborough Monaco, MonacoGroup
2003Hyperréalismes USA - 1965-1975Musée d'Art Moderne et Contemporain (MAMCS),StrasbourgGroup
2003Group Exhibition - Works by gallery artistsMarlborough Chelsea, New York City, NYGroup
2003Tools as Art - The Hechinger CollectionDeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, MAGroup
2003Real IllusionsFrist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, TNGroup
2002Les années 70 : l’art en causeCAPC - Musée d'art contemporain, BordeauxGroup
2002What's Going On - Prints Drawings and Photographs from the 1970'sDavison Art Center,MiddletownGroup
2000Inaugural ExhibitionMarlborough Monaco, MonacoGroup
2000AmericanosGaleria Moises Perez de Albeniz, PamplonaGroup
1991Die komplette DruckgraphikGalerie + Edition Domberger, FilderstadtSolo
1990Richard EstesHiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, HiroshimaSolo