Chronology MMoCA Collects


Photo Realism (1965–1975)

Photorealism is a style and art movement that appeared in the United States and Europe in the late 1960s. Artists used various types of photographic images as a basis for their paintings, drawings, and prints. Black-and-white and color photographs, color transparencies, or color slides were placed or projected on a screen to one side of the artist as he or she worked or projected directly onto canvas or paper as a guide. In its transfer of a photographic image to another medium, the photorealist work of art was never a simple reproduction of its source. Furthermore, the artists took liberties with the original photograph in color and form.

As an extension of traditional Realist styles—and influenced by the media images of Pop art—Photorealism questioned the objectivity of painted and photographed representations of reality. This attitude toward the artist's act of portraying the world led to compelling psychological portraits and haunting cityscapes, everyday scenes, and still lifes.