Close, Chuck

Close, Chuck

Close, Chuck (Charles Thomas Close), 1940–2021, American painter, b. Monroe, Wash., Univ. of Washington (B.A., 1962), Yale Univ. (B.F.A., 1963; M.F.A., 1964). After studying in Vienna (1964–65), he moved (1968) to New York City. Close specialized in huge, coolly expressionless single portraits of his artist friends, himself, or his family, executed from his own photographs in painstaking detail on a grid of small squares. His first works were painted in black and white; he introduced color in the 1970s and 80s. In 1988, Close suffered a collapsed spinal artery, which left him almost completely paralyzed. A brace device on his partially mobile hand, a sophisticated wheelchair, and other aids allowed him to paint again, and in the 1990s his work became freer and more lively. Within the armature of his grids, each tilelike square is filled with swirling, warmly multicolored designs in various forms–X's, O's, concentric rings of ameboid shapes, and others–in closeup resembling tiny abstract paintings, but at a distance coalescing into monumentally frontal portrait heads. From the 1970s to the present, Close has also created a variety of multiple images in such media as mezzotint, aquatint, linoleum cut, woodcut, screen print, paper pulp, and daguerreotype. In 2017, several women accused Close of verbal sexual harassment which tarnished his reputation.


See The Portraits Speak: Chuck Close in Conversation with 27 of His Subjects (1998); J. Guare, Chuck Close: Life and Work, 1988–1995 (1996); biography by C. Finch, Chuck Close: Life (2010), Chuck Close: Work (2014); studies by C. Westerbeck (1989), R. Storr et al. (1998, repr. 2002), and T. Sultan (2003), (2014); M. Cajori, dir., Portrait in Progress (documentary film, 1997).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

Close, (Charles Thomas) Chuck

(1940–  ) painter; born in Monroe, Wash. He studied at the University of Washington School of Art, Seattle (1960–62), Yale University (1962–64), and in Vienna, Austria (1964–65). A photo-realist painter of large portraits, as in Phil (1969), he was based in New York City beginning in 1967, and taught at several universities. Paralyzed from the neck down since 1988, he taught himself how to paint using mechanical and electronic aids.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
References in periodicals archive ?
In an episode spookily harking back to that time she and Sinbad unearthed Trevor Jordache from under the patio in Brookside Close, Chuck and Ned are at her father's grave in somewhat happier circumstances - if chatting to your dead father can be called happy, that is.