(American, b.1940) is best known for his large-scale photorealist portraits
, composed of tiny airbrush bursts, thumbprints
, or looping multi-color brushstrokes. In 1962, Close received his BA from the University of Washington in Seattle, followed by his MFA at Yale University 1964. Three years later he moved to New York, where he was one of the founders of photorealistic painting, working at first in black-and-white before shifting to colorful, bright, and almost abstract paintings.
Close systematically composes his paintings with a grid format, which is often visible in the finished work; his most recent works combine his methodical grid with the spontaneous brushwork of the Abstract Expressionists. The subjects of his portraits are usually his family and friends, including artists such as Richard Serra
(b.1939), Cindy Sherman
(American, b.1954), Alex Katz
(American, b.1927), Roy Lichtenstein
(American, 1923–1997), and Robert Rauschenberg
(American, 1925–2008) His work is widely esteemed and has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art and PS 1 in New York, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and the Tate Modern in London, among many other institutions. In 1988, Close was diagnosed with a rare spinal artery collapse, which Close refers to as the “Event,” and has been forced to paint in a wheelchair; nevertheless, he remains an important figure in the international art world.