Richard Estes' Realism

Richard Estes (United States, born 1932), Water Taxi, Mount Desert, 1999, oil on canvas, 35 x 66 1/4 inches. Collection of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Missouri, Bebe and Crosby Kemper Collection. Gift of the Enid and Crosby Kemper Foundation, 2002.13. © Richard Estes, courtesy Marlborough Gallery, New York

May 22 - September 7, 2014

Co-organized by the PMA and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, this exhibition is the most comprehensive survey since 1991 of the paintings of Richard Estes, the foremost practitioner of American photorealism who is renowned for his precise, crystalline style. Encompassing more than 45 works, the show spans from Estes' first mature New York City facades and scenes of the late 1960s to panoramic views of Manhattan and numerous other cities and natural sites. The exhibition offers new perspectives onto Estes as a painter both of the urban and natural worlds, balancing his interest in the dense fabric of New York and other large cities with his close attention to the coast of Maine and the woods of Mount Desert Island, where he has spent part of each year since the late 1970s. Most recently, Estes imbued images of New York City at night with sunlit luminosity. Select examples of Estes' rare portraits will also be included in the exhibition. This five-decade survey of his paintings reveals an artistic vision that is both deeply rooted in European and American art history, and consistently engaged with fundamental and contemporary questions of representation, form, and surface.

Richard Estes' Realism is organized by the Portland Museum of Art, Maine, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The museums thank the following donors for their generous support of the exhibition: Gabrielle Bekink and the Honorable Rudolf Bekink, Isabelle and Scott Black, The Lunder Foundation - Peter and Paula Lunder, Debbie Frank Petersen, Walter and Lucille Rubin Foundation, and John Wilmerding. Local media sponsorship is provided by WCSH 6, Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, and Maine Public Broadcasting Network.

Press Materials

Press Releases

September 2, 2014
Final Week for the Blockbuster Exhibition Richard Estes' Realism at the Portland Museum of Art

(Portland, Maine) This is the final week to see the blockbuster exhibition Richard Estes’ Realism at the Portland Museum of Art (PMA), on view through September 7. Estes is the foremost practitioner of American Photorealism and one of America’s greatest living painters, and this is the first major retrospective of his work in more than 20 years.

April 10, 2014
Major Richard Estes Retrospective this Summer at the Portland Museum of Art

(Portland, Maine) Richard Estes’ Realism is the most comprehensive exhibition of Estes’ paintings ever organized. A master of contemporary realism, Estes is primarily known as a painter of the urban landscape. This exhibition features 50 paintings ranging from Estes’ first New York City façades in the late 1960s to panoramic views of Mount Desert Island in the 2000s. Widely viewed as a pioneering practitioner of photorealism, Estes’ sharply focused technique goes beyond the photographic to create complex constructions of light, reflection, and perspective.