(American, b. May 14, 1932) is a Photorealist painter famed for his meticulous attention to detail and invisible brushwork. He was born in Kewanee, IL, but moved to Chicago with his family at a young age. From 1952 to 1956, Estes studied Fine Art at the Art Institute of Chicago. Estes relocated to New York, NY, after graduating. Estes worked for the next ten years of his life as a commercial artist for various publishers in New York and Spain; by 1966, the artist had saved up enough money to allow himself to paint full-time. In the 1960s, Photorealism (also known as Hyperrealism or Superrealism) emerged from Modern Art movements, such as Pop Art and Minimalism, with the help of Estes and his contemporaries including painter Chuck Close
(American, b.1940) and sculptor Duane Hanson
(American, 1925– 1996). Estes was influenced by early Realist artists like Edgar Degas
(French, 1834–1917) and Thomas Eakins
(American, 1844–1916), whose art he would have seen as a student at the Art Institute. Estes’ paintings are reproductions of photographs he takes of urban landscapes, most of which are realistic representations of Manhattan, with few to no people on the streets and sidewalks. Estes often exaggerates the detail in his imagery by using mirrored objects and reflections. Double Self-portrait
(1976), one of his most well-known works, is a great example of how he uses reflection to expand the depth of an image.
In 1968, Estes had his first solo exhibition at the Allan Stone Gallery
in New York City, and, in 1971, he was granted a fellowship with the National Council for the Arts. During the 1970s, Estes was chosen three times to represent the United States at the Bienniales in Venice and Basel. He also received the MECA Award for Achievement as a Visual Artist from Maine College of Art. In the 1980s, Estes began painting landscapes of Chicago, Paris, Florence, and other cities he visited. The artist went on to create a series of seascapes in the 1990s. These seascapes mainly consisted of representations of the coast of Maine, where Estes now lives and works when not in New York City.