Biography of Richard Estes
Richard Estes’ eye for detail and unrivalled talent in creating hyperrealist paintings make him one of today’s most sought-after artists. Known for his photorealist depictions of spotless, reflective and mostly inanimate cityscapes, the artist is regarded as one of the founders of the international photorealist movement of the late 1960’s, alongside artists of the likes of Chuck Close and John Baeder.
Born in Kewanee, Illinois, US in 1932, Richard Estes and his family were quick to move to Chicago where he later attended The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. While there, he became fascinated by the work of realist artists such as Edgar Degas and Edward Hopper. Upon finishing his studies in 1956, the young artist moved to New York City to work as a graphic designer in an advertising firm. It was here that he would learn the photography and photomontage skills that would become the basis of his artistic process, and inspire his iconic paintings of the city.
By combining several shots, using a wide angle lens, cropping or generally altering his photographic sources, Richard Estes is able to obtain more interesting angles of his subjects. He also frequently chooses to depict reflective material, like windows or shiny cars, which demonstrate his talent in the meticulous treatment of mirrored imagery. By playing with the composition, and paying particular attention to detail in this manner, Estes imbues his work with, according to him, a “depth and vision that only artistic transformation can achieve”.
Being an artist of high acclaim, Richard Estes’ works have been exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, and the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid. In 1971 he was elected into the National Academy of Design as an associate member, and eventually became a National Academician there—placing him high in the ranks of the most influential American artists. For years now Estes’ works have done extremely well in auction, regularly eclipsing the $500,000 mark.