The “Hyperrealism 1967-2012” show at the Thyssen-Bornemisza museum explores the evolution of the style from its beginnings in the late 1960s in the United States to its most recent incarnations in Europe.

Hyperrealists base their works on photos and their paintings were initially dismissed as copying photography and lacking artistic merit. But the style has proven to be popular with the public.

“We all used cameras. It was a revolution. We were not supposed to use cameras, it was considered contemptible,” said Audrey Flack, who in 1966 became the first hyperrealist painter to have works displayed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, at the presentation of the exhibition in Madrid.

Two works by the US artist are part of the show — “Shiva Blue”, a 1973 painting of a pile of paint tubes and “Queen” a 1976 work depicting a red rose, cut orange, chess piece and other objects.

The exhibition features works by 28 artists, including some of the most iconic examples of the style such as a black and white self-portrait by Chuck Close and a painting of a ketchup bottle by Ralph Goings.

It is divided into four sections — Still Lifes, On the Road, Cities and Bodies.

The exhibition runs until June 9. It will then travel to the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery in Britain.

The show was previously staged at the Kunsthalle museum in Tubingen in southern Germany