Chuck Close (b. 1940, Monroe, WA) is an important American artist, renowned for expanding the art historical canon of portraiture through his inventive painting techniques. Known for large-scale, photo-realist portraits, his practice spans painting, drawing, photography, and printmaking, including silkscreen, etching, linocut, and woodcuts.
Close received his MFA from Yale University in 1964, and began working with photo-based nude portraiture paintings in the late 1960s both in color and black-and-white. Interested in focus, scale, depth, and marking, Close mimics mechanical reproduction techniques by building his compositions in parts through a grid format and using a limited color palette. Close has collaborated with top printers since 1972, In 1988, Close suffered a spinal artery collapse injury, which caused partial paralysis. His method changed to incorporate abstract elements, rather than the precision he had worked in before. Close credits his prosopagnosia (face blindness) to his continued interest in portraiture.
Close’s work is in most of major museums, and has been the subject of important exhibitions, including at Carnegie International (1995); dOCUMENTA V and VI, Kassel; Venice Biennale (1993, 1995, 2003); Whitney Biennial, New York (1979); retrospectives at the Hayward Gallery, London; Ludwig Forum fur Internationale Kunst, Aachen; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; Museum of Modern Art, New York; and State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg; and surveys at St. Louis Art Museum; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; Staatliche Kunsthalle, Baden-Baden; and Lenbachhaus Kunstbau, Munich. He has also shown at American Academy in Rome; Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institute, New York, NY; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; Art Institute of Chicago; de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco; Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris; Kunsthal Rotterdam; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney; Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and White Cube Bermondsey, London.
He is the recipient of numerous awards including a Fulbright Grant (1965), National Medal of the Arts (2000), and Skowhegan Arts Medal.