Citarella Fish, 1991
Richard Estes b.1932
oil on canvas
31 x 71 in.
Considered one of the founders of Photorealism, which is well displayed in Citarella Fish. This painting's strength is on its thorough reproduction of detail. This may be turning into photorealism week! Photorealists tend to work from photographs, some free-hand from there others may plan out a painting or sculpture more specifically. I was blown away by the first Estes painting I saw. That first experience only left me with the amazement of the realistic detail. Further attention, and looking at more of his paintings offers up a lot more. Look through a catalog of his work and you'll see many common themes, the most specific being the focus on urban scenes (predominantly nyc). The scenes are not only urban but pedestrian, everyday. There are no events or special happenings in Estes paintings, yet they draw the viewer in. The angle and perspective of the piece of the scene he chooses to portray is very similar to a camera shot. He chooses in most cases (most particularly in those involving a store front) to split the image between a view onto the street and a view into a storefront. One's eye does not focus on only one view. I chose to include one of these scenes (His bridge paintings are awesome) in order to show the care he takes in representing the mirrored image in the glass. We not only see through the glass but also the reflection it creates. I chose this specific painting for the addition of the overhead lights you see through the glass as well. Layers upon layers in exquisite detail, a banal scene comes alive through its meticulous recreation in paint.
It took me ages to pick a painting for today (Yesterday's work by Max Ferguson brought Estes to mind) so I urge you to check out Estes's catalogue to see why. As you know, I am partial to images and art of NYC and don't wish to overuse them but I hope you find the structure, depth, richness and life in these paintings as appealing as I do.