Jointly organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Portland Museum of Art in Maine, the artworks in Richard Estes’ Realism are selected by Patterson Sims, an independent curator, and Jessica May, curator of contemporary and modern art at the Portland Museum of Art. Virginia Mecklenburg, chief curator at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, is coordinating the exhibition in Washington, D.C. (10.10.2014 - 08.02.2015)
Richard Estes’ Realism is the first complete overview of Estes’s work in the U.S. since 1978. It explores the full range of Estes’ career as a painter, with works from the late 1960s to 2013. Paintings in the exhibition balance Estes’ interest in cities London, New York, Paris, Tokyo—with luminous sunlit scenes of Venice and Antarctica as well as his explorations of the Maine coast and the woods on Mount Desert Island, where he has spent part of each year since the late 1970s. Recently, Estes has captured nocturnal images of New York City, and several examples are on display. A number of Estes’ rare portraits and self-portraits also are included in the exhibition.
Estes layers and merges multiple viewpoints to create dense and detailed scenes that reward the viewer with careful looking. His images are more sophisticated than they appear to be at first glance. His realism is a compelling record of the appearance of the urban and natural environments in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century. (Text: Smithonian American Art Museum)