Chuck Close

(b. 1940)

About The Artist


Painter, photographer, and printmaker Chuck Close, a master of the art of intimate portraiture, continues to experiment with emerging technology to obtain photo-realist perfection. From paintings, photographs, prints, and now tapestries, Close utilizes each medium's strength to capture his imagery, made iconic. He begins by meticulously painting minute images onto a grid, resulting in massive mosaic portraits that sometimes take up to two years to complete. He then works closely with specialist printers to produce works through a variety of methods, including lithography, woodblock etching, aquatinting, and linoleum cut printing. In the 1970s and 1980s, he achieved early success with portraits of himself, friends, and family which were exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1973), the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1980), and the Art Institute of Chicago (1989). Countless exhibitions later, he remains to be one of the most influential and innovative portrait artists of our time.

In 2006, Close began working with the Jacquard weaving process, essentially the pointilism of tapestry. Based on the primary and intermediary color wheel invented by the 19th-century French chemist, Michel Eugène Chevreul, this intricate weaving process relies on a regular ocular occurrence–“simultaneous contrast.” Chevreul realized that the perceived color of a thread is dependent upon its surrounding threads. It is the same phenomenon used in television and computer displays, as well as many of Close’s portraits which utilize fingerprints, dots, and minute brush strokes. According to Nick Stone at Magnolia Editions (a fine art print studio with whom Close collaborates), Close’s handwoven Self-Portrait (2006) incorporates a fusion of methods separated by over two hundred years: "on one hand, the lyricism and nearly infinite detail of a 19th-century photographic technique;" and an innovative, digitally driven approach to weaving.


Stone, Nick. "Chuck Close." Magnolia Editions. Magnolia Editions, Inc., n.d. Web. 5 June 2015.
“Chuck Close: Process and Collaboration." Blaffer Art Museum- at the University of Houston. Blaffer Art Museum The University of Houston. 2003. Web. 1 May 2012.