“Chuck Close is one of the true superstars of art. His works hang in the world’s most prestigious museums; he is considered by ARTNews magazine to be one of the fifty most influential people in the art world.”
The first image “Chuck Close, Self Portrait, 2000
Screenprint edition of 80” was available from galleries at around
$40,000 in 2003. The piece has escalated with the last copy being sold
by the publishers for in excess of $100,000.
Chuck Close (born 1939-)
Chuck Close is associated with the style of painting called Photorealism or Superrealism. This style was created by artists in the early 1970s. It created a link between representational systems of painting and photography. Photorealism developed as a reaction to the detachment of Minimalism and conceptual art, which did not depict representational images.
Photorealists such as Close frequently used a grid technique to enlarge a photograph and reduce each square to formal elements of design. Each grid is its own little work of art. Perhaps what he is most famous for are his portraits, which include intensely personal images of his friends, family, and fellow artists as well as self-portraits. Each painting, built of carefully constructed grids, is both highly abstract and a systematic composition of individual units or marks, and has a finely rendered likeness to his subject.
However, his career was not all easy. Because he was dyslexic, everyone
considered him to be dumb and lazy. He was even told to forget about college.
. He has said “My early learning disabilities affected what I did
as an artist. I could never remember faces, and I’m sure I was driven
toward portraits because of the need to scan study and commit to memory
the faces of people who matter to me...” But that was not the only
pain Close had to deal with in his younger life. His father, a sheet metal
worker, plumber and on-the-side inventor, was always in ill health and
moved the family from place to place several times in search of civil
service jobs with health benefits. When Close was eleven years old, his
life became a living hell. His father died. His mother, a trained pianist
who in the Great Depression gave up her desire to reach a concert career,
got breast cancer. They lost their home due to medical bills. His grandmother
was later diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. In addition, Close,
an only child, spent most of the year in bed with nephritis, a nasty kidney
infection. Only one thing helped him cope with the agony, sadness and
Almost all of Close’s work is based on the use of a grid as an underlying basis for the representation of an image. This simple but surprisingly versatile structure provides the means for "a creative process that could be interrupted repeatedly without…damaging the final product, in which the segmented structure was never intended to be disguised." It is important to note that none of Close's images are created digitally or photo-mechanically. While it is tempting to read his gridded details as digital integers, all his work is made the old-fashioned way—by hand.
Close’s paintings are labor intensive and time consuming, and his prints are more so. While a painting can occupy Close for many months, it is not unusual for one print to take upward of two years to complete. Close has complete respect for, and trust in, the technical processes—and the collaboration with master printers—essential to the creation of his prints. The creative process is as important to Close as the finished product. Additional Information >>>
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