1932 Born on May 14 in Kewanee, Illinois, to Marie and William Estes. Raised in Sheffield, Illinois, with younger brother Robert. Father ran an auto repair shop. As a child spends time making things, creating models, and drawing.

1947 Family moves to Evanston Illinois, a college town and a suburb of Chicago, where Estes has access to the city with its enriched architectural environment and cultural resources.

1950 Graduates from high school. Works for a year at the Washington National Insurance Company and saves enough money to pay for a year's travel to Europe to see museums, attend concerts and visit cities he had only read about.

1951 Returns to Chicago in October. Hopes to study architecture with Mies van der Rohe at the Illinois Institute of Technology, but arrives too late for admission. Accepted by The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

1952 - 1956 Studies at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. After graduation travels to New York in August to try and make a career in art. Works in an advertising studio for three months, but returns to Chicago in December.

1956 Lives at home with parents. Works in advertising art for another 3 years before he amasses enough money and experience working at art to make another try succeeding as an artist in New York.

1956 - 1966 Commercial artist working in publishing and advertising, doing layouts, illustrations, etc.

1959 Moved from Chicago to New York. In New York, continues to paint while also working in a succession of commercial art studios, including Reiss, Cappiello, and Caldwell, and Marstellar Advertising Agency, and publications such as Popular Science Magazine. He also does free lance work including art for record jackets, magazine and book illustrations. During this time Estes develops his technique of working from photos depicting the objects and things found in the contemporary urban landscape.

1961 - 1962 With money gathered from commercial work, Estes takes an extensive trip to Europe to devote himself entirely to travel and painting. He takes a freighter to Copenhagen, travels through Germany and Italy for a month and then over to Spain, where he rents a small apartment in Palma de Majorca, Spain and spends four months painting and traveling throughout Europe.

1966 With money saved from working as a commercial artist and illustrator, began to paint full time

1967 Showed work to Allan Stone, New York and the Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, New York : Estes finally feels he has accumulated enough work to show to dealers for an exhibition of his paintings. In the fall he starts working his way uptown, showing his paintings to various gallery dealers.

Finally At 90th and Madison Avenue, (about as far uptown as galleries went at that time) the gallery dealer, Allan Stone takes an interest in the work and decides to give Estes a solo show in the spring. Phone Booths, Horn And Hardart Automat, and Automobile Reflections were included in the dozen or so paintings in the show.

The exhibition was successful enough to allow Estes to give up his commercial work and paint full time. It also enabled him to travel and study the great paintings and architecture around the world, a habit he continues throughout his life.

1970 Continues to show with Allan Stone Gallery. Recognized as a key figure in the Realist movement in the late 60s and early 70s. Works are included in significant solo shows and key group exhibitions on Realism around the world.

1971 Receives National Endowment Fellowship Award for Painting.Still faced with the print project, Estes recalls working in the silkscreen process on various advertising projects and thought this technique would lend itself better to his working method. In his search for a suitable printer, the artist discovers the work of Domberger KG, Filderstadt in Stuttgart, Germany. Estes successful efforts with them produces his first print portfolio Urban Landscapes I, which leads to many other print projects with Domberger.

Estes enters into a contract with Bob Feldman of Parasol Press, Ltd. NY, to create a print portfolio. He sublets his apartment in New York to work at a lithography studio in Paris. His experiments with the process lead him to decide that lithography could never lend itself to his working style. Abandoning the project temporarily, Estes leaves to travel to Russia and Eastern Europe in late June. He enjoys a few weeks in Leningrad during the "White Nights Festival" then goes onto Moscow, Kiev, and Budapest before returning to New York.

Still faced with the print project, Estes recalls working in the silkscreen process on various advertising projects and thought this technique would lend itself better to his working method. In his search for a suitable printer, the artist discovers the work of Domberger KG, Filderstadt in Stuttgart, Germany. Estes successful efforts with them produces his first print portfolio Urban Landscapes I, which leads to many other successful print projects with Domberger.

1973 Moves into a new studio and apartment in New York where he still lives and works.

1975 Buys a house in Maine to escape the oppressive heat of New York City in the summer which he still uses six months a year.

1978 The Museum of Fine Arts Boston and John Arthur organize a retrospective exhibition, Richard Estes: The Urban Landscape. The show traveled to the Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri, Museum of Art and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C.

1990 Brain Trust, Inc. and The Committee for the Richard Estes Exhibition organize a major exhibition curated by John Arthur, which travels to museums in three cities in Japan, Tokyo, Osaka, and Hiroshima.

1992 A significant exhibition of prints, Richard Estes: The Complete Prints, organized by the American Federation of the Arts and curated by John Arthur travels to museums around the country.

1993 First solo exhibition with Marlborough Gallery, joins Marlborough Gallery in New York where he remains until now. Marlborough has provided Estes with major exhibitions in New York, Madrid, and Buenos Aires. "New York Cityscapes" at FIAC, Grand Palais, Paris 1996 Awarded the MECA Award for Achievement as a Visual Artist, Maine College of Art, Portland, Maine Estes continues to balance his working life in New York and Maine with travels abroad. Aside from regular visits to Europe his trips have included India, Costa Rica, Peru, Morocco and Tunisia.

1995 California Arts Council, Governor's Awards for the Arts, Achievement in Visual Arts Award

1996 Awarded the MECA Award for Achievement as a Visual Artist, Maine College of Art, Portland, Maine

Lives and works in New York, NY and Maine  

Der amerikanische Photorealist Richard Estes wurde am 14. Mai 1932 in Kewanee, Ill , USA geboren. Von 1952 bis 56 studierte er Kunst am >Art Institute od Chicago<. Von 1956 bis 1966 arbeitete er als kommerzieller Künstler im Bereich Werbung , Druck und Lay-out. 1959 siedelt er von Chicago nach NY über. 1962 lebt er in Spanien. 1966 beginnt er als freischaffender Künstler. 1967 zeigt er seine erste Ausstellung bei der Allan Stone GAllery. 1968 hat er dort seine erste Einzelausstellung. Ab den 1980ern beschäftigt sich Estes mit Panoramen. Er bleibt bei der Allan Stone Gallery bis 1985. 1985 hat er eine Ausstellung bei der K.Meisel Gallery; später wechselt er zu Marlborough Fine Art, NY.

Wie die anderen Photorealisten geht er nicht von der Wirklichkeit der Natur und ihrem direkten Reiz auf die Netzhaut aus, sondern von der indirekten Wirklichkeit einer Photovorlage, die er auf Leinwand überträgt. Dabei interessieren ihn die Stadtlandschaften in denen wir unser Leben zubringen. Ihre ganze Alltäglichkeit wird gezeigt ohne romantischen oder moralischen Anstrich. Er verzichtet dabei auf extreme Motive und Betrachterstandpunkte und besondere formale Höchstleistungen, die andere Photorealisten wie z.B. Don Eddy reizen wenn dieser Gläser in einem verspiegelten Gläserschrank als Motiv nimmt. Aufgrund der extremen Detailreichtums und der photographischen Entsprechung hat man den Photorealismus auch als Super- oder Hyperrealismus bezeichnet, eine art "High fidelity" (Hifi) für die Augen.

Estes Werk überzeugt als sachliche Schilderung unserer Zeit, indem er den subjektiven Faktor des Werkes niedrig hält und zudem die Malerie nicht in Virtuosität erstickt. Estes ist einer der ganz großen Künstler unserer Zeit, obwohl seine Werke kaum auf den großen Auktionen von Christies und Sothebys auftauchen und er nicht zu den Personen auf der Hitliste der hippesten Künstler steht.

Artist Interviews

Chase, Linda. >Interviews with Robert Bechtie, Tom Blackwell, Chuck Close, Richard Estes and John Salt<, OPUS International, June, 1973, pp.38-50.

Arthur, John >Richard Estes, "A Conversation<, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the New York Graphic Society, 1978.

Arthur, John. >Richard Estes: Interview on his Graphics <, Print Collector’s Newsletter, 1979.

Arthur, John. >Conversation with Richard Estes<," Architectural Digest, October, 1982.

Arthur, John. >Richard Estes Interview<, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, October 20, 1985.

Slonim, Jillian >Richard Estes, "The Art of the Print: Richard Estes<, American Federation of the Arts, Autumn, 1992.

Peterson, Gregory J. >Richard Estes<, ArtInterview, August 2, 2002.


Museum and Public Collections

Académie Francaise. Paris, France.

Art Institute of Chicago. Chicago, Illinois. USA.

Boca Raton Museum of Art. Boca Raton, Florida. USA.

Currier Museum of Art. Manchester, New Hampshire. USA.

Des Moines Art Center. Des Moines, Iowa. USA.

Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, Michigan. USA.

Farnsworth Art Museum. Rockland, Maine. USA.

Harvard University Art Museums. Cambridge, Massachusetts. USA.

Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University. Ithaca, New York. USA.

High Museum Of Art. Atlanta, Georgia. USA.

Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Washington, DC. USA.

Indianapolis Museum Of Art. Indianapolis, Indiana. USA.

Kemper Museum Of Contemporary Art. Kansas City, Missouri. USA.

La Biblioteca Luis Ángel Arango. Bogota, Colombia.

Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst. Aachen, Germany.

Ludwig Múzeum. Budapest, Hungary.

Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, New York. USA.

Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. Fort Worth, Texas. USA.

Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. Madrid, Spain.

Museum Ludwig. Cologne, Germany.

Museum Moderner Kunst - Stiftung Ludwig. Vienna, Austria.

Museum of Fine Arts - Boston. Boston, Massachusetts. USA.

Museum of Modern Art. New York, New York. USA.

National Academy of Design. New York, New York. USA.

National Gallery of Art. Washington, DC. USA.

Nelson-Atkins Museum Of Art. Kansas City, Missouri. USA.

Neue Galerie der Stadt Aachen, Ludwig Collection. Aachen, Germany.

Norton Simon Museum Of Art. Pasadena, California. USA.

Portland Art Museum (Oregon). Portland, Oregon. USA.

San Antonio Museum Of Art. San Antonio, Texas. USA.

Smithsonian American Art Museum. Washington, DC. USA.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. New York, New York. USA.

Springfield Museum of Fine Arts. Springfield, Massachusetts.

Sydney and Walda Besthoff Foundation. New Orleans, Louisiana. USA.

Tate Gallery. London, United Kingdom.

Teheran Museum of Contemporary Art. Teheran, Iran.

Toledo Museum Of Art. Toledo, Ohio. USA.

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Richmond, Virginia. USA.

Walker Art Center. Minneapolis, Minnesota. USA.

Whitney Museum of American Art. New York, New York. USA.

Yale University Art Gallery. New Haven, Connecticut. USA.