The Photorealist paintings art movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s emerged as a reaction to the non-representative art of Abstract Expressionism and the stripped-down aesthetic of Minimalism. Instead, photorealism paintings accurately represent real-world objects in stunning, often painstaking detail. If you’re an admirer of the photorealistic paintings of artists including John Baeder, Chuck Close, and Malcolm Morley, we invite you to explore the many photorealistic paintings for sale on Saatchi Art!
Photorealist paintings emerged from the Pop Art and Minimalist movements in 1960s America, when artists believed the abundance of photographs and commercial imagery in the media would devalue images in art. Photorealist artists created precisely detailed works to reclaim the value of the photographic image, elevating everyday objects to the level of high art. These painters often focused on common, everyday objects, pop art imagery, and suburban life to distance themselves from Realists. However, some argue these quotidien subjects also served as a commentary on the emptiness of a society focused on the consumption of images and goods. Artists today continue the tradition, taking items like soda cans and cars as their muse.
Richard Estes is known for his precisely detailed works depicting storefronts and cars, such as “The Candy Store” (1969). Robert Bechtle is famous for his watercolor photorealist works depictin suburban homes and cars. James Rosenquist’s “I Love You With My Ford” (1961) and “F-111” (1965) similarly depict vehicles. Audrey Flack focused on celebrities and still lifes in works like “Marilyn (Vanitas” (1977). Other aritsts known for their photorealism paintings include Robert Cottingham, Malcolm Morley, Chuck Close, Robert Cottingham, Tom Blackwell, Eric Scott, Richard McLean, Don Eddy, Ralph Goings, Charles Bell, John Sat, and Mike Gorman.
To create these photorealist paintings, artists pay close attention to detail. These works are characterized by their precise, veristic detail and a focus on everyday objects in the urban environment, including cars and roads, shops, and everyday, mass-produced products. Artists often choose subjects that require a high level of technical skill to reproduce with ordinary brushes, so they also tend to emphasize sharp geometric forms and more complex compositions involving water and reflections. Some artists use a grid to reproduce an original photograph in exact detail, often including any distortions present in the original photo. Contemporary photorealist painters are able to create even more precise works with the help of digital photography equipment.