Reynolda House Museum of American Art Acquires Richard Estes’s “Hubcap”

Reynolda House Museum of American Art has acquired Hubcap, a work by preeminent Photorealist artist Richard Estes, as the latest addition to the Museum’s permanent collection. One of the founders of Photorealism, Estes helped to popularize the movement, in which artists base their paintings on photographs and attempt to capture the look of photography in paint. Estes was one of the early architects of the style and continues as a prolific artist today.

Hubcap, painted in 2021, is an exceptional example of Estes’s work and of the genre. Because of its size, it perfectly fits the domestic scale of Reynolda. Hubcap will be available for viewing when Chrome Dreams and Infinite Reflections: American Photorealism opens to the public on July 15, 2022.

Hubcap represents the best of Estes’s work as he skillfully combines highly reflective surfaces, evident in his early work, with his growing interest in the natural world,” said Allison Slaby, curator, Reynolda House Museum of American Art. “With Chrome Dreams and Infinite Reflections: American Photorealism, we hope to inspire visitors to rethink how photography and painting intersect through the collection of Photorealist works amassed for the exhibition.”

In the shiny, reflective surface of a new Volkswagen Beetle’s fender, Estes captured a scene of coastal Maine. Banded layers represent a grassy foreground, teal-colored water, dark pine trees and a cerulean blue sky studded with white clouds. The painting is strongly vertical, and the composition is compressed onto a narrow board. The landscape, rather than horizontal, thrusts dramatically upward in an emphatic diagonal. The curves and planes of the car parts—the bulging fender, the flat metallic car door and the circular gas-cap cover—distort the landscape and divide it into different zones in the painting. Estes skillfully represents different textures—the rubber tire, flat gray hubcap and shiny metal car body and chrome trim.

Hubcap feels like it belongs at Reynolda,” said Allison Perkins, executive director of Reynolda House and Reynolda Gardens. “In acquiring this work, Reynolda is reaffirming its commitment to adding exceptional works from artists who are leaders in their fields for the enjoyment of museum visitors for generations to come.”

The acquisition of Hubcap was made possible by a generous contribution from David and Scottie Neill. When making the donation, David—who is the immediate past president (2020–22) of the Reynolda House Board of Directors—said that his desire was “to enable Reynolda to collect art that prompts conversation, learning and curiosity, and that fulfills the collection priorities of the Museum.”

Estes’s Hubcap will join other Photorealist works in the collection, such as Audrey Flack’s Bounty (1978) and Ben Schonzeit’s Englishtown Jewels (1971).

Above: Richard Estes (born 1932) Hubcap, 2021 Oil on board. Museum purchase with funds provided by Scottie and David Neill. © Richard Estes, courtesy Schoelkopf Gallery.

July 14, 2022
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