Richard Estes' Realism 

May 22 2014 - Feb 08 2015

Press Release

Richard Estes’ Realism, a retrospective exhibition jointly organized by the Portland Museum of Art in Maine and the Smithsonian Museum of Art in Washington, D.C., will feature 50 paintings, a range of nearly 50 years (1964-2013) of the artist’s work. The show will open at the Portland Museum of Art on Thursday, May 22 and will continue until September 7, 2014. It will then travel to the Smithsonian American Art Museum, where it will be on view from October 10, 2014 until February 8, 2015. 

Richard Estes is widely considered the master of Photorealism, a form of hy­perrealist painting where a photograph is projected onto the canvas as the source of the image and then painted. In Estes’ case, however, photographs are used only as a starting point. His mastery of painting and technical virtuosity allows him to create surfaces that evince an allover tonal richness, which combined with crystalline clarity of detail, engender a striking magnetic presence. While the ostensible subject is reality, his work is, as art historian Linda Nochlin has pointed out, “concerned with conveying the non coincidence of tac­tile and visual reality,” or, to put it a different way, as the curator Patterson Sims writes, “Estes reveals and revels in a world hidden in plain sight.  His highly detailed works inspire and reward being regarded at length…in the long tradition and history of representational painting he deploys his exceptional skills to turn his observations into revelations.”

Richard Estes’ Realism will be accompanied by a monograph with essays by Patterson Sims, an independent curator, and Jessica May, Curator of Contemporary and Modern Art at the Portland Museum of Art.  It will also include a detailed chronology by Helen Ferruli, an independent art historian. The book will be published by the Portland Museum of Art and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. It will be distributed by Yale University Press.

Summary: Retrospective exhibition organized jointly by the Portland Museum of Art in Maine and the Smithsonian American Art Museum