By Katy Cowan
American artist Richard Estes is best known for his photorealist paintings of New York City, crafted with oils over five decades. Picking out the reflective, clean and inanimate streetscapes, facades, public transport and buildings that grace one of the world’s greatest metropolises – he is regarded as one of the founders of the photorealist movement of the late 1960s.
His process begins by taking a photograph of something that catches his eye – sometimes, he might also appear in the shot. He then reproduces these images with oils onto canvas, documenting the city around him with his art.
Estes moved to New York City in 1958 from Chicago, where he was born, brought up, and educated. For most of his first decade in the Big Apple, he supported himself as an illustrator and graphic designer for periodicals and advertising agencies.
In early 1968, his painting career was launched with his first solo exhibit at the Allan Stone Gallery on East 86th Street in Manhattan. It was the first New York City exhibit of a painter from the group of American artists soon to be identified as Photorealists. Since that time, Estes has exhibited in galleries and museums worldwide.
Via Museum of Art and Design, NYC