Chuck Close

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Chuck Close is an American painter known for his large-scale, detailed portraits of the human face. His outstanding artistic ability and ingenious approaches have made him one of the most innovative painters of our time. He is recognized with making photorealism an artistic medium in the 1970s. He has made some great pieces of art that are highly sought after by museums and collectors. Born into an artistic family, he had an early interest in the arts. His childhood dyslexia led him to seek refuge in art, where he discovered a great degree of creativity and artistic ability. Before starting his work, he studied photorealism at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. His health has always been a problem and he has various medical concerns. Despite his infirmities, he has remained one of the most prominent modern artists.

Early Childhood of Chuck Close

Chuck Close was born in Monroe, Washington on July 5, 1940. His parents, Leslie Durward Close and Mildred Wagner, were also sheet metal workers.
He struggled in school due to severe dyslexia as a child. He was always interested in painting and knew he wanted to be an artist as a child.

His father was unwell and died when Chuck was 11. His mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, and the family lost their home due to growing medical expenditures. Chuck also got a renal illness.
He persevered in his pursuit of art and was accepted into the University of Washington in Seattle, where he graduated in 1962.
In 1964, he obtained his Master of Fine Arts from Yale University’s Art and Architecture School. Shortly after Yale, he studied abroad at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.

A Career of Chuck Close

Chuck Close returned to the US to teach painting at the University of Massachusetts. In 1967, he relocated to NYC.
As a graduate student at Yale, he was noted for his skilled brushwork and fascination in abstract expressionism. With his meticulous attention to detail, “photorealist” painting began to move him away from his earlier approach.

His work was shown in significant New York galleries and at the Whitney Museum of American Art by the late 1960s. At the early 1970s, he was exhibiting in prominent international exhibits.
He mastered the glossy, mirror-like “look” of photographs in the 1970s and then went to portraiture. He began with a gridded image then enlarged it.

Despite having prosopagnosia (commonly known as face blindness), he became famous for his bold and complex depictions of the human face.
Throughout his distinguished career, he has created wall-size tapestry portraits made up of hundreds of woven colorful thread combinations. His subjects include Barack Obama, Lou Reed, Kate Moss, Lucas Samaras, and Philip Glass.
Artist in residence at the Documentas V and VI (1972), the Venice Biennale (1993, 1995, 2003), and the Carnegie International (1995). ‘Chuck Close Paintings: 1968/2006′ was exhibited in 2007.

Honors & Awards

He was made an Associate Academician of the National Academy of Design in 1990 and a full Academician in 1992.President Clinton awarded him the Medal of Arts in 2000. He also won the New York Governor’s Art Award.
President Obama appointed him to the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities in 2010.

Personal Legacy of Chuck Close

His first wife, Leslie Rose, had two daughters. They split up in 2011.
Chuck Close is now married to Sienna Shields.

After a seizure in 1988, he was paralyzed from the neck down. He spent months in rehab strengthening his muscles and using a wheelchair. He re-entered the art world and re-established himself as one of America’s favorite artists.

Estimated Net Worth

Chuck Close’s net worth is estimated at $25 million.


As part of President Barack Obama’s Turnaround Arts initiative, Chuck Close volunteered at Roosevelt School in Bridgeport, Connecticut, mentoring 34 kids in grades 6 through 8.