Richard Estes' Realism


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Patterson Sims; With Jessica May and Helen Ferrulli

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A rich compendium of Estes’ virtuosic photorealist paintings, which capture light and reflections in brilliant detail

Richard Estes (b. 1932) is one of the most celebrated adopters of  Photorealism; his paintings are characterized by painstaking detail that mimics the clarity and accuracy of photographs. Estes’ most famous canvases from the 1970s depict New York’s urban landscape, and his manner of painting reflections in a multitude of metal and glass surfaces displays astounding technical skill. In his subsequent career, Estes has continued to demonstrate his superlative ability to show complex plays of light and shadow in Maine seascapes, views of Venetian lagoons, and nighttime street scenes.
Accompanying Estes’ first solo exhibition of paintings in the United States in over two decades, Richard Estes’ Realism surveys fifty years of his work and places him within the historical narrative of realist painting. The authors explore the ongoing modernist dialogue between camera and canvas, and discuss the situation of Estes’ work at the crossroads of painting and photography. Fifty full-page plates showcase the amazing precision of Estes’ paintings, and a thorough chronology and bibliography provide an enlightening account of his life. This handsome book offers a lavish presentation of Estes’ spellbinding body of work that attests to his enduring artistic impact.

Distributed for the Portland Museum of Art and the Smithsonian American Art Museum

Exhibition Schedule:

Portland Museum of Art

Smithsonian American Art Museum 

Patterson Sims is president of the board of Independent Curators International. Jessica May is curator of contemporary and modern art at the Portland Museum of Art.  Helen Ferrulli is an independent art historian based in New York. 


Portland Museum of Art

Smithsonian American Art Museum 

ISBN: 9780300205121
Publication Date: June 3, 2014
Publishing Partner: Distributed for the Portland Museum of Art and the Smithsonian American Art Museum
178 pages, 11 1/4 x 9 3/4
70 color + 14 b/w illus.
N. C. Wyeth

New Perspectives

Jessica May and Christine B.

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