PORTLAND, Maine — Richard Estes might be the most neglected major American artist working today. Widely regarded as the father of photorealism (also known as hyperrealism), a movement that peaked in the 1970s, he is a more sophisticated and satisfying artist than either of those fraying, outmoded labels suggest.
This summer, he is the subject of a first-rate retrospective — according to the organizers, the biggest of Estes’s career — at the Portland Museum of Art. It will travel to the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., in October. The show’s 50 works were selected by Patterson Sims, an independent curator, and Jessica May, a curator at the Portland Museum of Art.
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More than half of the works are privately owned, and thus rarely if ever seen in public; 14 are from the artist’s own collection. Institutional lenders include the Museum of Modern