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Check out these incredible New York street scenes by Richard Estes

Gotham is given an uncanny gloss in these unbelievably detailed paintings by the master photorealist

Written by
Howard Halle
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Richard Estes was part of a group of artist in the 1960s that first perfected the style of transforming paintings into exact copies of photographic images. The original Photorealists, as they were called, were a varied bunch, and each seemed to have a specialty: Chuck Close did giant faces, Ralph Goings favored Airstream trailers, and Audrey Flack painted still lifes of cosmetics. Estes’s subject was New York City, specifically the play of light on its myriad storefronts windows. He captured their kaleidoscopic reflections of the street with breathtaking precision, but he also trained his eye on neon signs, subway cars and department store escalators among other things. Estes’s 50-year career is the subject of “Richard Estes, Painting New York City,” on view at the Museum of Arts and Design through September 20. Catch it if you can, but in the meantime, here’s a selection of what you’ll see.

Photograph: Courtesy Luc Demers/Richard Estes

Bus with Reflection of the Flatiron Building, 1966-1967
Photograph: Courtesy Luc Demers/Richard Estes

Bridal Accessories, 1975
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Photograph: Courtesy Alex Jamison/Richard Estes

Escalator, 1969
Photograph: Courtesy Luc Demers/Richard Estes

Automat, 1966-1968
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Photograph: Courtesy Dennis and Diana Griggs/Richard Estes

Apollo, 1968
Photograph: Courtesy Dennis and Diana Griggs/Richard Estes

Urban Landscapes I: Grant’s, 1972
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Photograph: Courtesy Dennis and Diana Griggs/Richard Estes

Urban Landscapes I: Nass Linoleum, 1972
Photograph: Courtesy Dennis and Diana Griggs/Richard Estes

Holland Hotel, 1980
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Photograph: Courtesy Dennis and Diana Griggs/Richard Estes

Bus Interior, 1981
Photograph: Courtesy Susan Sheehan Gallery

D Train, 1988
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Photograph: Bruce Schwarz/Richard Estes

Sunday Afternoon in the Park, 1989
Photograph: Courtesy Louis K. Meisel Gallery/Richard Estes

The Plaza, 1991
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Photograph: Courtesy Louis K. Meisel Gallery/Richard Estes

M Train on Route to Manhattan Approaches the Williamsburg Bridge, 1995
Photograph: Courtesy Marlborough Gallery/Richard Estes

Columbus Circle Looking North, 2009
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Photograph: Courtesy Marlborough Gallery/Richard Estes

Staten Island Ferry Arriving in Manhattan, 2012
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