Richard Estes: Urban Landscapes

The Portland Museum of Art is honored to present the stunning prints of American artist Richard Estes (born 1932), who is considered one of the founding Photorealists—a group of artists who used photo-based techniques to achieve hyperrealist effects.

Available 12-24 months

Exhibition Images

  • Richard Estes (United States, born 1932), D Train, 1988, screenprint, 42 1/8 x 77 inches. Portland Museum of Art, Maine. Private collection, 6.2020.9. © Richard Estes, image courtesy Luc Demers.

    Richard Estes (United States, born 1932), D Train, 1988, screenprint, 42 1/8 x 77 inches. Portland Museum of Art, Maine. Private collection, 6.2020.9. © Richard Estes, image courtesy Luc Demers.

  • Richard Estes (United States, born 1932), Manhattan, 1981, screenprint, 19 3/4 x 27 5/8 inches. Portland Museum of Art, Maine. Private collection, 6.2020.15.5. © Richard Estes, image courtesy Luc Demers.

    Richard Estes (United States, born 1932), Venezia–Murano, 1979, screenprint, 27 1/2 x 19 5/8 inches. Portland Museum of Art, Maine. Private collection, 6.2020.14.8. © Richard Estes, image courtesy Luc Demers.

  • Richard Estes (United States, born 1932), Venezia–Murano, 1979, screenprint, 27 1/2 x 19 5/8 inches. Portland Museum of Art, Maine. Private collection, 6.2020.14.8. © Richard Estes, image courtesy Luc Demers.

    Richard Estes (United States, born 1932), Manhattan, 1981, screenprint, 19 3/4 x 27 5/8 inches. Portland Museum of Art, Maine. Private collection, 6.2020.15.5. © Richard Estes, image courtesy Luc Demers.

About the Exhibition

The Portland Museum of Art is honored to present an exhibition dedicated to the stunning prints of American artist Richard Estes (born 1932), one of the founding Photorealists—a group of artists who used photo-based techniques to achieve hyperrealist effects.

After initially working as a graphic artist for publishers and advertising agencies, Estes shifted to painting fulltime in the 1960s, promoting a version of hyperrealism that was visually descriptive of the increasingly high-tech postwar age. He is now renowned as the premier painter of American cityscapes, yet he also explored the possibilities of printmaking throughout his career. In 1971, he began to collaborate with Edition Domberger in Stuttgart, Germany, where he worked closely with master printers on a highly sophisticated screenprinting process. Over the course of 20 years, Estes and Domberger collaborated on dozens of complex screenprints, many of which are included in the exhibition.

Estes’ prints portray his ongoing fascination with city architecture, including strong geometric views of storefronts, shopping malls, restaurants, bridges, and trains, all apparently bereft of human figures. He found the gleaming, reflective surfaces of New York City especially irresistible. His manner of painting and (later) printing the reflections he encountered on metal and glass surfaces displays astounding technical skill. Through screenprinting, he was able to achieve uniform and intense effects that elude other printing processes because of screenprinting’s ability to evenly print layers of inks and colors, whether translucent, opaque, glossy, matte, or transparent.

Decades later, his detailed views of New York City and other sites remain vibrant records of urban topography. Estes’ subjects now hover between past and present—some signage and buildings remain, others have been demolished or replaced. Still, these prints retain their vitality despite the everchanging façades of the urban landscape.

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