Sep 22, 2010



All my life I have been attracted to strong effervescent colors, when I started studying art I was drawn to paintings that leaned toward bright colors and sharp lines, I guess that why photorealism has been a favorite of mine.

Some artists love pastels some love soft looking paintings but for me it is always the painting that has a lot of visual impact that will call to me. If you have ever been in a gallery and had a painting across the room grab your attention it will usually have a lot of visual impact. It will be the first one you see. The vibrant colors and tight application of paint is one of the qualities that make a painting have “visual impact.”

Photorealism evolved from Pop Art in the late 1960s and early 1970s in the United States. These are created by using a photograph

to assemble the information. In spite of the fact that visual devices had been used since the fifteenth century to assist artists with their work the use of photographs in Photorealism was met with passionate criticism when the movement began to gain momentum in the late 1960s.

Fearing that their work would be misunderstood as imitations artists went to great lengths to deny the fact that they used photographs.

The word Photorealism was coined by Louis K. Meisel in 1969. In 1979 the Whitney Museum printed a catalogue for the show "Twenty-two Realists." This was the first time photorealism was mentioned in print. It is also sometimes called Super-Realism, Sharp Focus Realism, New Realism, or Hyper-Realism.

Two years later, Stuart M. Speiser who had commissioned a large collection of works by the Photorealists, which later developed into a traveling show known as "Photo-Realism 1973 requested Louis to develop a definition of photorealism.

He developed a five-point definition.

1. The Photo-Realist uses the camera and photograph to gather information.
2. The Photo-Realist uses a mechanical or semi mechanical means to transfer the information to the canvas.
3. The Photo-Realist must have the technical ability to make the finished work appear photographic.
4. The artist must have exhibited work as a Photo-Realist by 1972 to be considered one of the central Photo-Realists.
5. The artist must have devoted at least five years to the development and exhibition of Photo-Realist work.

After this the collection known as the “Stuart M. Speiser Collection,"

was donated to the Smithsonian in 1978 and is shown in several of its museums as well as traveling under the sponsorship of SITE.

Photorealist painting cannot exist without the photograph.

Everything must be accurately represented by the artist, things are frozen in time. The artist assembles their imagery and information with the camera and photograph.The artist will systematically

transfer the image from the photographic slide or photo onto the canvas. This is done by the use of a grid or a projector. The ensuing images are often exact copies of the original photograph being tight and precise, often with an emphasis on imagery that requires a high level of technical expertise and skill.

Often Trompe L'oeil has been confused with Photorealism. However, there are strong differences in the two. Trompe L'oeil paintings endeavor to "fool the eye" and make the viewer think he is seeing an actual object, not a painted one, whereas, when observing a Photorealist painting, the viewer is always conscious that they are looking at a painting.

The first photorealists in America were , Chuck Close, Charles Bell, Audrey Flack, Don Eddy, Richard Estes,Tom Blackwell, Ralph Going and Tom Blackwell.

They painted still-life’s, portraits, and landscapes.

The Photorealism movement of the 70s is still popular today. Several of the original photorealist artists were still painting in 2002.

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