The American painter and commercial designer, Pearlstein graduated from the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh (1949) where he was a contemporary of Andy Warhol. He moved to New York and, in 1955, took a Master in the History of Arts at the New York University. During the 50's, he adhered to realist and proto-pop themes, showing a special interest in Abstract Expressionism. He opposed the formal and emotional distortion of the image and, after 1959, almost exclusively painted nudes in an analytical and realistic manner, normally in pairs. Pearlstein states, however, that his realism is distinct from that of Pop Art or Photo Realism, movements with which he is generally associated.