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Chuck Thomas Close was born on July 5, 1940 in Monroe, Wisconsin. After graduating in 1962 from the University of Washington, Seattle, he began pursuing a master's degree in figurative art at Yale University in 1964. Thanks to a scholarship, he was able to spend a number of months in Europe. His works, namely his portraits, are often associated with the Hyperrealism or Photographic Realism movements, which in response to Minimalism and Conceptual Art offer a link between painterly and photographic representation through a mechanical and detailed reproduction of reality.
Chuck Close's life and artistic trajectory of underwent a drastic change in 1988 when he suffered from spinal artery collapse and was rendered quadriplegic. However, he did not abandon his artistic activities. At first, Close painted with a brush held between his teeth. He gradually regained some movement in his arm and legs and was later able to paint with a brush strapped to his hand. Although his handicap prevented him from painting according to his previously meticulous manner, Close had already conceived a refined photorealistic method. Thanks to experimentation with different techniques and materials, his works are characterized by an extraordinary degree of realism.
In 1999 Close executed a series of photographic portraits using a daguerreotype, and in the course of the two successive years completed a series of photographs which, through particular use of focus and contrast between blurred and extremely detailed parts of the face, recall his earlier paintings. In 2006 the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia de Madrid dedicated an exhaustive retrospective of Close’s body of work. He has been the subject of hundreds of exhibits in important museums and institutions, among them the State Hermitage Museum, which dedicated an exhibit to his work in February 2008. Chuck Close died in Oceanside, New York, on August 19, 2021.