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Richard Estes

The Candy Store


Richard Estes, The Candy Store, 1969  69.21
Richard Estes, The Candy Store, 1969. Oil and synthetic polymer on canvas, 47 3/4 × 68 3/4 in. (121.3 × 174.6 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase with funds from the Friends of the Whitney Museum of American Art  69.21 For Teachers

about this work

In this painting, Richard Estes scrupulously represents not only the signs, displays, and sugared goods for sale at a New York City candy shop but, in smooth glass reflections, the world beyond the store—the facades of facing buildings and a white parked van. Both the reflections on the store windows and the inside of the store are equally visible and clear. For all of its visual accessibility, The Candy Store is a sophisticated meditation on the processes of sight and representation. It replicates the experience of seeing the store and peering into the window while walking down the street, capturing depth and recession in the depiction of several angled fluorescent lights while at the same time remaining emphatically flat and frontal. 

look closer

What kind of place do you think this might be? How can you tell?

What objects did the artist include in this painting?

What words are included in this painting?

How do the words and signs relate to the objects?

If you were buying something from here, what would it be? Why?


Richard Estes, The Candy Store, 1969  69.21 For Teachers

With their luminous precision and finely rendered detail, Richard Estes’s paintings can be mistaken for photographs. Estes often shoots five or six rolls of film in preparation for a single painting, enlarging details and combining elements from several photographs as source material. He then works from these photographs to create his paintings.

Look closely at The Candy Store. What kind of details does Estes include in his painting? What does he leave out? Does this remind your students of any place in their neighborhood? Why or why not?

Compare The Candy Store to Edward Hopper’s painting Early Sunday Morning. How are the two paintings similar? How are they different?

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