Richard Haas (American, b.1936) is a practitioner of the trompe l'oeil artistic style, a technique that uses realistic images in a way that tricks the eye into perceiving the painting in three dimensions. Haas has painted hundreds of murals that incorporate trompe l'oeil methods in the depiction of the architectural features of the building. He was born in Spring Greene but grew up in Milwaukee, WI. He graduated in 1959 from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a Bachelor in Art. Instructors for his courses included Joseph Friebert (American, 1908–2002) and Robert Von Neuman (German, 1888–1976).
Haas returned to his birthplace to work as a helper for his stonemason uncle, and he had an opportunity to view the work of the architect Frank Lloyd Wright (American, 1867–1959). He spent several years as an assistant professor at the University of Michigan before he moved to New York City in 1968. Haas spent 10 years teaching at Vermont's Bennington College, splitting his time between the school and New York. Haas worked for many years as an Abstract painter who used traditional canvas media. He later developed an interest in drawing and etching the details of late 19th century and early 20th century New York City buildings.
The artist’s first outdoor mural, a commission to paint the cast iron façade at the corner of Prince Street and Greene Street, was completed in 1975. His other notable murals include Fort Worth, Texas' Homage to Chisholm Trail, Gateway to the Waterfront in Yonkers, and Michigan's The Dwelling Place. Haas’s awards include the 1983 Guggenheim Fellowship, the 2003 Westchester Arts Council Artist Award, and the 2005 Jimmy Ernst Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Hass's murals were the subject of the 1989 documentary film Painting the Town: The Illusionistic Murals of Richard Haas. He wrote The City is My Canvas and Richard Haas: An Architecture of Illusion. Many famed museums hold examples of Hass's work in their collections, including Washington, D.C.'s Smithsonian Institution, New York's Museum of Modern Art, and Massachusetts's Boston Museum of Fine Art. Haas still lives in New York City, but he often travels to paint commissioned murals.