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Chuck Close (1940–2021), born in Monroe, Washington, was an American artist whose work centered around massive-scale photorealist and abstract portraits of himself and his friends. His remarkable career extended beyond his renowned paintings and photographs as he was also a master printmaker, who, for more than 30 years, had pushed the boundaries of traditional printmaking in remarkable ways. At age 14, Close saw an exhibition of Jackson Pollock‘s abstract paintings, which inspired him to become a painter. During the 1970s and ’80s, Close began to use color and experimented with a variety of media and techniques. Close has been called a Photo-Realist, a Minimalist, and an Abstract Expressionist but his commitment to his unique vision and his evolving techniques defy any easy categorization. In 1988 a spinal blood clot left Close almost completely paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. However, a brush-holding device strapped to his wrist and forearm allowed him to continue working. In the 1990s, he replaced the minute detail of his earlier paintings with a grid of tiles daubed with colorful elliptical and ovoid shapes. In 1998, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City mounted a major retrospective of Close’s portraits.

His work has also been shown at institutions such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (1971), Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (1972), Laguna Gloria Art Museum, Austin (1975-1976), Musée national d'art moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (1979), Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (1980-1981), Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, Connecticut (1987) and the Art Institute of Chicago (1989). Exhibitions featuring his works on paper include those held at the Edwin A. Ulrich Museum, Wichita State University, Kansas (1975), the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston (1985), and the Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio (1989).

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