Chuck Close, Self-Portrait Screenprint 2012, 2012. Courtesy of Hamilton-Selway Fine Art.

Chuck Close: Portraits

Chuck Close, a contemporary master of portraiture, was born with a rare neurological disorder called prosopagnosia, which leaves him unable to recognize faces—including his own. “Everything I do is driven by my learning disabilities,” Close once said. “I’m sure I was driven to paint portraits to commit images to memory, because once I flatten them out and scan them I remember them much better.” Whether as tapestries, photographs, or larger-than-life oil paintings, Close’s portraits often feature himself or his inner circle of friends, including the artists artists Richard Serra, Alex Katz, Cindy Sherman, and Cecily Brown. Notable exceptions include his portraits of celebrities Brad Pitt and Kate Moss, as well as former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Close’s John (1971-72), an early photorealistic painting of his friend John Roy, set the artist’s auction record at $4.8 million.

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