Richard Estes Prints
Richard Estes Prints
Meticulous, grand, and authoritative, Richard Estes’ (born 1932) prints of cityscapes at once recall the tradition of the Old Masters, reflect Pop Art’s rendering of the everyday, evoke Cubist approaches to the “reality” of a subject, and yet remain completely modern. There is serenity in the scenes, a captured moment, frozen in time, when one imagines being the only person left to wander the city. Subversively appealing at first glance, Estes’ visions might suddenly create a moment of panic when it becomes clear that you are alone in this vision. It is that starkness, that lack of human presence that belies his oft-applied designation as a Photo-realist. While his paintings and prints are certainly photo-realistic, the absence of the human element perhaps in some way aligns his work more closely to conceptualism or minimalism. Estes regularly uses his own photographic compositions to work from when creating a painting or print, sometimes combining multiple images to use as a model for the final work. Through this composite process, Estes creates a scene more “real” than what could be captured in a single photograph of a location. The prints featured in this exhibition are as subtly layered and vibrant as his well-known paintings, depicting urban landscapes from New York to Salzburg.
Richard Estes was born in Kewanee, Illinois in 1932. He received his first oil painting set as a child and later attended the Chicago Art Institute. In 1956, Estes moved to New York to work as a freelance illustrator for various magazine publishers and advertising agencies. Eventually he pursued a full-time career as a fine artist, creating mostly figurative studies. In the early 1960s he began painting urban landscapes, first with the inclusion of human activity and later without. Estes’ first solo show was in 1968 at the Allan Stone Gallery in New York. Since then his work has been exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide. His work can be found in public and private collections including the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York; Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri; Neue Galerie der Stadt Aachen, Ludwig Collection, Aachen, Germany; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, New York; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York.