Artist Spotlight: Chuck Close

November 9, 2018

Along with Audrey Flack and Ralph Goings, Chuck Close is perhaps Photorealism’s best known representative, though it be should noted that Close maintains an aversion to the label. While his style has developed over the years, Close is renowned for his massive portraits that feature painstakingly intricate detail. The artist reportedly first pursued portraiture in response to art critic Clement Greenberg’s assertion that an “advanced” artist would never debase themselves with the likes of portrait painting. In addition to Clement’s challenge, Close also suffered from prosopagnosia, otherwise known as face blindness, thus presenting an additional hurdle. By working with photographs, which inherently flatten the human face, Close recognized that his mind could process the image in a different way.

Chuck Close, Self Portrait, 2000
November 18, 2018 Auction, The Collection of Gerard L. Cafesjian

The sheer scale of a Close painting restricts the viewer from “seeing the thing as a whole,” and thus forces them to “confront” the image by “scanning it” bit by bit, in much the same way that he must do when he paints the piece. Through this phenomenon, Close says, the viewer “is seeing the journey that I took to build this image.”

Brown, Jeffrey. Interview: For Chuck Close, an Evolving Journey Through the Faces of Others. PBS Newshour, 6 July 2010,


Lot 142
Chuck Close
Self Portrait
Color screenprint on paper
#34 of 80
Published by Pace Editions, Inc., New York; printed by Brand X Editions, New York
Signed lower center margin beneath image; dated lower right; edition lower left; retains Babcock Gallery label frame verso
Image: 58.25″ x 48″; Sheet: 65.375″ x 54.125″; Frame: 68.125″ x 56.75″; (Image: 148 x 122 cm)
Provenance  Private Collection, New York, New York; Phillips, New York, New York, May 21, 2008, lot 43

November 18, 2018 Auction, The Collection of Gerard L. Cafesjian

Lot 143
Chuck Close
Self Portrait
Woven silk tapestry
#3 of 150
Co-published by the artist and A/D Gallery, New York
Signed lower center; dated lower right; edition lower left
50.5″ x 37.75″; (128 x 96 cm)
Provenance  Christie’s, New York, New York, February 9, 2007, lot 245

November 18, 2018 Auction, The Collection of Gerard L. Cafesjian

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