Richard Haas in front of Cityscape, 1982 New-York Historical Society, Gift of Atria Corporate Servics, Inc.
My use of trompe l'oeil, however, was never merely an end in itself, but a means to grab the viewer's attention. It was my hope that, once thus engaged, the viewer might seek other layers of meaning and be able to read the larger story told by the artwork. By marrying the painted architecture as closely as possible to the existing architecture, I endeavored to make the encounter with the painting as "plausible" as possible, to make one feel that it belongs where it is, that it was always part of the natural cityscape. I believe this is what makes the most successful pieces. It is also why I insist on maintaining a certain degree of artistic control over the projects.
Richard Haas, The City is My Canvas (Prestel, New York, 2001) p. 9-10
Haas makes connections that cities themselves lack, filling in great gaps left in the wake of urban renewal. In a career that spans nearly four decades, Haas has transformed otherwise bland curtain-wall buildings into gloriously detailed, if indisputably faux, period works. Some of them seem so real that it is almost impossible to see them for what they are: two-dimensional paintings; others leap far into the fantastic, inviting our imagination to take wing. His painted facades - and, to a lesser extent, his interiors - expand our awareness of our surroundings, our consciousness of what encapsulates the notion of civitas.
Beth Dunlop, The City is My Canvas (Prestel, New York, 2001) p. 11