Chuck Close

United States of America  born 1940

Chuck Close was born on 5 July 1940 in Monroe, Washington. He studied art at Everett Community College, Washington, from 1958 until 1960, and completed his degree at the University of Washington, Seattle, in 1962. He continued his studies at the Yale Graduate School University, New Haven, Connecticut, during 1962–64. In 1964 he was awarded a Fulbright Grant to study for a year at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna. On his return he taught at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, and his first solo exhibition was held at the university in 1967. Shortly afterwards Close left for New York, where he began a series of huge black-and-white portraits which were exhibited at the Bykert Gallery in 1969, and were first shown abroad at the Neue Galerie, Aachen, in 1970. By the mid-1970s he had begun using colour in his portraits.

Close’s work was included in important group exhibitions, such as Hyperréalistes Américains Réalistes Européens, Centre National D’Art Contemporaine, Paris, 1974 and the touring show American Painting of the 1970s, organised by the Albright Knox Gallery, New York, 1978. From early in Close’s career his work was also shown frequently in New York, at The Whitney Museum of American Art and at the Museum of Modern Art. By the late 1970s Close had also established himself as a printmaker and photographer. He showed regularly at the Pace Gallery, New York from 1977. Close Portraits, the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, exhibition of 1980, toured major American centres, and in 1989 a solo show was at the Art Institute of Chicago. Despite being paralysed from the neck down in 1988, Close continues to paint from a wheelchair. In 1994 a retrospective was shown at the Staatliche Kunsthalle, Baden Baden and at the Kunstbau Lenbachhaus, Munich, while the exhibition at Museum of Modern Art in 1999 demonstrated the artist’s continuing commitment to exploring the possibilities of the human visage. Close lives and works in New York.

See more works by this artist in the NGA collection

Chuck Close Bob 1970 © Chuck Close Purchased 1975 Learn more