Artist Trivia: Richard Estes

Tree branches and tree trunk weave together with spackled sunlight in this hyper realistic painting by Richard Estes
Richard Estes, Forest Scene, 2006, Oil on panel, Museum purchase with support from the Friends of the Farnsworth Collection, 2007.21

Who is this artist: 

This artist was born in Kewanee, Illinois, and began painting in high school. Initially, planning to study architecture with Mies van der Rohe at the Illinois Institute of Technology, the artist instead earned a BFA in 1956 from the School of Art at the Art Institute of Chicago. Working as an illustrator in New York City, they experimented with photography before turning their full attention to painting in 1966, working from photographs and sketches to create “photo-realist” paintings of often dense scenes. This painter first came to Maine in the 1970s, eventually settling into the former home of American Impressionist, Carroll Tyson (1878-1956) in Northeast Harbor. Following in the footsteps of Frederic Church and Marsden Hartley, they made a pilgrimage to Mt. Katahdin. This artist will be celebrating their 90th birthday on May 14.

The Artist is Richard Estes

Richard Estes began his career in New York City where he worked as an illustrator before concentrating on painting full-time.  The exaggerated focus and luminosity of his canvases draw close attention to previously unseen or overlooked aspects of the urban environment.  He often exaggerates the size of an object in the distance, making objects larger than they actually appear so the eye doesn’t get ‘stuck’ in what he calls, ‘the final point’. Despite the exactitude and tightly controlled appearance of his compositions, evidence of brushstrokes can be seen. Ken Johnson wrote in 2015 in the New York Times, that Estes pictures “complex scenes in eye-dazzling sharp focus and in extreme detail. Viewed up close, the seamless illusions fall apart into myriad patches of colored paint; the magic partly is how your eyes and mind flip between seeing the realism and seeing the abstraction.” We celebrate Richard Estes on May 14 on his 90th birthday

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