Biography from the Archives of askART
It was primarily only after 1972, at the Kassel Documenta Fair, that Richard McLean became well known. He began exhibiting his work in San Francisco in 1957, after studying painting at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, California. At the end of the 1960s, realism became quite fashionable in the United States. As this was McLean’s primary style, he participated in many exhibitions such as 22 Realists in 1970 at the Whitney Museum in New York; Radical Realism, in 1971 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago; Sharp Focus Realism in 1972 in New York; and many others both in the United States and overseas. McLean’s most successful theme involved horses and their accompanying figures, such as racehorses and their jockeys, military horses, and farm horses. In a majority of cases, the animal plays a major role at the expense of the figures or surrounding landscapes. McLean considers himself a still-life painter despite his subjects being animals and men.