Richard Estes


Richard Estes (born 1932) is considered to be one of the central figures of the international Photorealist movement of the late 1960s. Estes often selects subject matter from cityscapes and details of window displays. His paintings exemplify the high-finish of Photorealism without sacrificing elegant brushwork. Exploiting the visual impact of reflected light on glass and other polished surfaces, Estes’ technique creates vibrant images that simultaneously clarify the chaotic urban environment and delight in its complexities. Uncannily effective, Estes’ work is not only pivotal to the Photorealist movement, but can also be situated within a longer tradition of European and American realism including Johannes Vermeer, Canaletto, and Edward Hopper.


Richard Estes was born in Kewanee, Illinois, in 1932. He completed his degree at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1956. Receiving training in academic art, Estes’ early work was centered upon figure drawing and traditional painting. For a decade after graduating, he worked in advertising both in New York City and Spain while painting at home in the evenings, honing his signature realist style.

In 1968 he had his first solo show at the Allan Stone Gallery. Shortly after, in 1971, he earned a fellowship with the National Council for the Arts. Estes’ work has achieved wide acclaim and has been exhibited in major institutions both nationally and internationally including the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, Strasbourg; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo.

Estes lives in New York and Maine.


2014 – “Photorealism: The Everyday Illuminated,” Jonathan Novak Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, California

2013 – “Hyperrealism: 1967 – 2012,” Louis K. Meisel Gallery, New York, New York

2013 – “Hiperrealismo: 1967 – 2012,” Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Spain

2013 – “Photorealism Revisited,” Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

2012 – “New York by Night,” Marlborough New York, New York

2012 – “ReFocus: Art of the 1970s,” MOCA, Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, Jacksonville, Florida

2012 – “Optical Noise,” David Winton Bell Gallery, Providence, Rhode Island

2011 – “New York for Sale,” Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, New York

2011 – “East of Eden – Photorealism: Versions of Reality,” Ludwig Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, Budapest, Hungary

2011 – “Hyper Real: Kunst und Amerika um 1970,” Ludwig Forum Internationale Kunst, Aachen, Germany

2010 – “Richard Estes,” Marlborough Gallery Monaco, Monaco, Italy

2009 – Marlborough Gallery, New York, New York

2008 – “Richard Estes: Antarctica, New England, and New York,” Marlborough Gallery, New York, New York

2008 – “Richard Estes: Di Seigraphien,” Edition Domberger, Filderstadt, Germany

2008 – “Recent Acquisitions,” Louis K. Meisel Gallery, New York, New York

2007 – Louis K. Meisel, New York, New York

2006 – “New York, New York,” Grimaldi Forum Monaco, Monaco, Italy

2005 – “Doubletake: Photorealism from the 1960s & 1970s,” The Rose Art Museum of Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts

2005 – “Cars and Ketchup: Photorealist Images of the American Landscape,” Herbert F. Johnson  Museum of Art, New York, New York

2005 – “Vintage Masterpieces of Photorealism,” Louis K. Meisel Gallery, New York, New York

2004/05 – “An American Odyssey 1945-1980 (Debating Modernism),” Ciculo de Bellas Artes, Madrid Spain; Traveled to: Domus Artium, Salamanca, Spain; Kiosco Alfonso, A Coruña, Spain; Queensborough Community College Art Gallery, Bayside, New York

2004/05 – “American Photorealism,” Iwate Museum of Art, Iwate, Japan; Traveled to: Iwaki City Art Museum, Iwaki, Japan; Kumamoto Prefectural Museum of Art, Kumamoto, Japan; Jane Vorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, New Jersey

2004 – “New American Realism and Photorealism,” Anthony Brunelli Fine Arts, Binghamton, New York

2004 – “Get Real: Photorealist Prints from the James W. Hyams Collection,” Marsh Art Gallery, University of Richmond, Richmond, Virginia

2003 – “Hyperrálismes USA 1965-1975,” Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, Strasbourg, France

2003 – “Iperrealisti,” Chiostro del Bramante, Rome, Italy

2002 – “Photorealism at the Millennium: Vintage Photorealists,” Bernarducci Meisel Gallery, New York, New York

2002 – “Photorealism: The Liff Collection,” Naples Museum of Art, Philharmonic Center for the Arts, Naples, Florida

2001 – “This is America: American Photorealists,” Aarhus Kunstmuseum Arhus, Denmark

2001 – “Near & Far: Perspective and Structure,” Louis K. Meisel Gallery, New York, New York

2001 – “Illusion and Reality: Hyper-Realism Painting in Korea and America,” Samsung Museum of Modern Art, Seoul, South Korea

2001 – “Recent paintings,” Marlborough Gallery, New York, New York

2000 – “Richard Estes: Recent Works,” Marlborough Fine Art, London, United Kingdom

1999 – “Richard Estes,” Centro Cultural Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Argentina

1998 – “Richard Estes: Obra Reciente,” Galería Marlborough, Madrid, Spain

1998 – “Richard Estes: Six New Paintings,” Marlborough Gallery, New York, New York

1997 – “Small Paintings,” Marlborough Gallery, New York, New York

1995 – “Richard Estes: New York Paintings,” Marlborough Gallery, New York, New York

1994 – “Paintings 1967-1993,” Louis K. Meisel Gallery, New York, New York

1993 – “Richard Estes: New York Cityscapes,” FIAC 1993, Grand Palais for Marlborough Gallery, New York, New York

1992/95 – “Richard Estes: The Complete Prints,” Organized and circulated by the American Federation of Arts, The Museum at Stony Brook, New York, New York; Canton Art Institute, Canton, Ohio; Middlebury College Museum of Art, Middlebury, Vermont; Louisiana Arts & Science Museum, Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Columbia Museum of Art, Columbia, South Carolina; Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri; Huntsville Museum of Art, Huntsville, Alabama; Hunter Museum of Art, Chattanooga, Tennessee

1991 – “Richard Estes: Urban Landscapes,” Portland Museum of Art, Maine

1990 – “Richard Estes 1990,” Japan Traveling Exhibition, Isetan Museum, Tokyo; The Museum of Art, Kintetusu, Osaka; Hiroshima City Museum, Hiroshima, Japan

1990 – “Richard Estes: The Complete Prins and the Japan Paintings,” Sert Gallery, Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

1985 – Louis K. Meisel Gallery, New York, New York

1983 – Allan Stone Gallery, New York, New York

1983 – “Modern Art in the West,” Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Art, Tokyo, Japan

1978/79 – “Richard Estes,” The Urban Landscape, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts

1974 – “Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Illinois

1972 – Allan Stone Gallery, New York, New York

1968 – Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, New York

1968 – Allan Stone Gallery, New York, New York

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