Chuck Close

Monroe, Washington,1940

Chuck Close is a North American painter and photographer whose work is known through his enormous painted portraits based on photographs (the technique of photorealism o hyperrealism).

In 1962 he got his BA degree at Washington University in Seattle, and in 1964, obtained a doctorate in Mastery of Fine Arts or MFA, through Yale University. Thereafter, in the area of visual and plastic arts, literary and scenic arts he was given awards by the United States and the United Kingdom. In 1964 and 1965, he studied in Vienna thanks to a scholarship from the Fulbright programme.

From 1965 to 1967, he gave classes as an art teacher in Massachusetts University in Amherst, ending his time as a student to move to New York.

He painted his first picture from a photograph in 1966 and his following works were enormous portraits in black and white, using a grid system.

It would not be until 1970 when he would begin to paint portraits in colour, in the following decades passing from hyperrealism to a more abstract form of realism. That year he presented his first solo exhibition, and three years later, exhibited for the first time in the MOMA – the New York Modern Art Museum.

The 80s and 90s were decades when he was experimenting with different shapes within each grid, introducing in each one of them miniatures from abstract paintings, in such a way that, depending on the distance from which his work was viewed, these hundreds of abstract forms in different colours combined perfectly and integrated a portrait of an exquisite meticulousness in its details, and of absolute photographic realism.

In 1988 he suffered a collapse in his spinal artery on the very day when he was going to give a conference at an art prize-giving ceremony. He did feel ill before, but nonetheless gave the conference, and after with difficulty went to a hospital. A few hours later he was diagnosed with a hemiplegia on his right side which was to limit him for the rest of his days. He ceased to be the meticulous painter of up until that moment, but nonetheless continued with his career, utilizing various alternative methods specially designed for him to manage his brushes.

A member of the American Fine Arts Academy, currently he lives and paints in Bridgehampton, New York, having managed to recover certain movement in his arm and leg.

Exhibited Works

  • “Self portrait”, woodcut on hand made Nishinouchi paper, 2002.