Charles Thomas “Chuck” Close (born July 5, 1940) is an American painter/artist and photographer who achieved fame as a photorealist, through his massive-scale portraits. Close often paints abstract portraits, which hang in collections internationally. Although a catastrophic spinal artery collapse in 1988 left him severely paralyzed, he has continued to paint and produce work that remains sought after by museums and collectors. Close also creates photo portraits using a very large format camera.
Most important art
Big Self-Portrait (1967-68)
The tentative air of experimentation that might be said to characterize Big Nude is nowhere apparent in Big Self-Portrait, a watershed painting that virtually showcases Close’s unique method. Abandoning the full-body view, Close turned to one of the oldest traditions anywhere in art history, the self-portrait. Close had partially set out to refute the critic Clement Greenberg’s claim that it was impossible for an “advanced” artist to work in portraiture. Closes’s untraditional approach involved conceiving of and creating a unique kind of “mug shot,” a black-and-white idiom that exacerbated the subject’s blemishes and the original photographic distortion caused by the camera. The devotion to the idea of an unsparing, head-on view led him to refuse all commissions, as Close used only his own “mug” and that of close friends for his subjects.