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Richard Estes

(b. 1932)


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(1932– )

American painter and printmaker, one of the best‐known exponents of Superrealism. Born in Kewanee, Illinois, he studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, 1952–6, and settled in New York in 1959. He worked as a graphic artist for several years and did not devote himself full‐time to painting until 1966. His first one‐man show was at the Allen Stone Gallery, New York, in 1968, and by the end of the decade he was a leading figure in his field. Estes's work is devoted to the urban landscape; early paintings focused on people, but since about 1967 buildings have been the main point of interest. He usually depicts fairly anonymous or typical pieces of streetscape, however, his only ‘portrait’ of a well‐known building being his commissioned painting of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (1979, Guggenheim Museum, New York). His method of work is to take several photographs of a scene and then combine parts of them until the ‘feel’ is right. Unlike many Superrealists, he works with traditional brushes rather than airbrushes, often using acrylic paint and then switching to oils for the finishing touches to obtain extra clarity of focus. He presents the city as a visual spectacle, usually in bright light, so that even the garbage looks glossy. Estes has also made very elaborate screenprints.

Subjects: Art.


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