Born, May 14 in Kewanee, Illinois, to Marie and William Estes. Lives in Sheffield, Illinois, with younger brother Robert. Father ran an auto repair shop. As a child spends time making things, creating models, and drawing.
Family moves to Evanston Illinois, a college town and a suburb of Chicago, where Estes has access to the city with its enriched architectural environment and cultural resources.
Graduates from high school. Works for a year at the Washington National Insurance Company and saves enough money to pay for a year's travel to Europe to see museums, attend concerts and visit cities he had only read about.
Returns to Chicago in October. Hopes to study architecture with Mies van der Rohe at the Illinois Institute of Technology, but arrives too late for admission. Accepted by The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Studies at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. After graduation travels to New York in August to try and make a career in art. Works in an advertising studio for three months, but returns to Chicago in December.
Lives at home with parents. Works in advertising art for another 3 years before he amasses enough money and experience working at art to make another try succeeding as an artist in New York.
In New York, continues to paint while also working in a succession of commercial art studios, including Reiss, Cappiello, and Caldwell, and Marstellar Advertising Agency, and publications such as Popular Science Magazine. He also does free lance work including art for record jackets, magazine and book illustrations. During this time Estes develops his technique of working from photos depicting the objects and things found in the contemporary urban landscape.
With money gathered from commercial work, Estes takes an extensive trip to Europe to devote himself entirely to travel and painting. He takes a freighter to Copenhagen, travels through Germany and Italy for a month and then over to Spain, where he rents a small apartment in Palma de Majorca, Spain and spends four months painting and traveling throughout Europe.
Estes finally feels he has accumulated enough work to show to dealers for an exhibition of his paintings. In the fall he starts working his way uptown, showing his paintings to various gallery dealers.
Finally At 90th and Madison Avenue, (about as far uptown as galleries went at that time) the gallery dealer, Allan Stone takes an interest in the work and decides to give Estes a solo show in the spring. Phone Booths, Horn And Hardart Automat, and Automobile Reflections were included in the dozen or so paintings in the show.
The exhibition was successful enough to allow Estes to give up his commercial work and paint full time. It also enabled him to travel and study the great paintings and architecture around the world, a habit he continues throughout his life.
Continues to show with Allan Stone Gallery. Recognized as a key figure in the Realist movement in the late 60s and early 70s. Works are included in significant solo shows and key group exhibitions on Realism around the world.
Still faced with the print project, Estes recalls working in the
silkscreen process on various advertising projects and thought
this technique would lend itself better to his working method. In
his search for a suitable printer, the artist discovers the work of
Domberger KG, Filderstadt in Stuttgart, Germany. Estes successful
efforts with them produces his first print portfolio Urban Landscapes I, which leads to many other successful print projects with Domberger.
Estes enters into a contract with Bob Feldman of Parasol Press, Ltd. NY, to create a print portfolio. He sublets his apartment in New York to work at a lithography studio in Paris. His experiments with the process lead him to decide that lithography could never lend itself to his working style.
Abandoning the project temporarily, Estes leaves to travel to Russia and Eastern Europe in late June. He enjoys a few weeks in Leningrad during the "White Nights Festival" then goes onto Moscow, Kiev, and Budapest before returning to New York.
Still faced with the print project, Estes recalls working in the silkscreen process on various advertising projects and thought this technique would lend itself better to his working method. In his search for a suitable printer, the artist discovers the work of Domberger KG, Filderstadt in Stuttgart, Germany. Estes successful efforts with them produces his first print portfolio Urban Landscapes I, which leads to many other successful print projects with Domberger.
Moves into a new studio and apartment in New York where he still lives and works.
Buys a house in Maine to escape the oppressive heat of New York City in the summer which he still uses six months a year.
The Museum of Fine Arts Boston and John Arthur organize a retrospective exhibition, Richard Estes: The Urban Landscape. The show traveled to the Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri, Museum of Art and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C.
Brain Trust, Inc. and The Committee for the Richard Estes Exhibition organize a major exhibition curated by John Arthur, which travels to museums in three cities in Japan, Tokyo, Osaka, and Hiroshima.
A significant exhibition of prints, Richard Estes: The Complete Prints, organized by the American Federation of the Arts and curated by John Arthur travels to museums around the country.
Joins Marlborough Gallery in New York where he remains. Marlborough has provided Estes with major exhibitions in New York, Madrid, and Buenos Aires.
Estes continues to balance his working life in New York and Maine with travels abroad. Aside from regular visits to Europe his trips have included India, Costa Rica, Peru, Morocco and Tunisia.