A peek into our collections, one object at a time

Richard Estes: "Diner"

January 20, 2015
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Richard Estes, Diner, 1971, oil on canvas, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Museum purchase 1977. © Richard Estes, courtesy Marlborough Gallery, New York. Photo by Lee Stalsworth

Richard Estes: Diner

Richard Estes is considered the foremost contemporary photorealist painter and has been celebrated for more than 45 years as a master of American cityscapes. 

Estes layers and merges multiple viewpoints to create dense and detailed scenes. The deceptively straightforward images reward closer inspection and repeated viewings. Estes’ works celebrate the aesthetic of late 20th- and early 21st-century urban and natural environments, evoking a true feel for the setting of each painting.

The exhibition “Richard Estes’ Realism” is open at the Smithsonian American Art Museum through Feb. 8, 2015. The exhibition features 46 paintings spanning a 50-year career, including a number of works from private collections that are rarely seen publically. It is the first complete overview of Estes’s work in the U.S. since 1978.