Photorealism

Ralph Goings

Ralph Goings

Style of painting, printmaking and sculpture that originated in the USA in the mid-1960s, involving the precise reproduction of a photograph in paint or the mimicking of real objects in sculpture.In terms both of its imagery of mass-produced objects and suburban life and of the premise of replicating an existing artefact with no apparent comment, Photorealism emerged as an offshoot of Pop art. Despite clear stylistic differences, it is also close to Minimalism in its cool, detached approach and to conceptual art in its concern with the work of art as a physical manifestation of an idea. Its relationship to modernism was, however, somewhat awkward. Many critics attacked it as a betrayal of modernist principles, reactionary in its return to a representational illusionism. As with Pop art, its rejection of élitism, in its apparent appeal to popular taste and to comprehensibility, was judged by many to be anti-modernist. Paradoxically, however, its blatant presentation of a trompe l’oeil style and its reliance on photographic images forced to the forefront, in the modernist tradition, a consciousness of the medium as an end in itself. In its meticulous technique and objective rendering of surface appearance Photorealism has a long line of historical predecessors stretching from veristic Surrealism and 19th-century academic painting back to 17th-century Dutch painting and further to the works of Jan van Eyck. Culturally closer are pictures painted in a trompe l’oeil manner by American artists such as James Peale, John F. Peto, William Michael Harnett and later by the American Precisionists such as Charles Sheeler.

Source: https://www.moma.org/collection/details.ph...