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Al Gore, from the "America: Now and Here" portfolio

  • Accession Number:
  • Artist:
    Close, Chuck
  • Date:
  • Medium:
    Digital chromogenic development print
  • Dimensions:
    image: 18 3/4 in x 16 in; paper: 24 in x 20 in
  • Credit Line:
    Museum purchase


About the Photographer

Close, Chuck

American, b. 1940 Monroe, WA

There is a tradition of emphasizing those key areas of the face which control likeness, while the skin, neck, hair and background are not considered of primary importance in the reading of a portrait. I wanted to make those areas almost as interesting and important as the more symbolic areas of the face.

— Chuck Close, quoted in Realists at Work

Chuck Close began using photography as a tool to obtain images for his paintings. His attraction to incredibly detailed images has led him to employ larger format cameras and now historic photographic media like the daguerreotype. When he started working with a large Polaroid camera, his photographic portraits began to approximate the enormous scale of his paintings, particularly when they are joined in quadrant grids to form single portraits. Close's inkjet prints, such as Lucas and Roy II, are exquisitely detailed, capturing shifting tones and shadows as well as his subjects' hairs and wrinkles.

Chuck Close was born in Monroe, Washington, in 1940. He earned his BA from the University of Washington, Seattle, and a BFA and MFA from the School of Art and Architecture, Yale University. His work has been featured in more than one hundred solo exhibitions in the United States and Europe, including three major traveling retrospectives. Close's paintings and photographs have also been included in major group exhibitions, including "Documenta V" (1972) and "Documenta VI" (1977) in Kassel, Germany, and in the Whitney Museum of American Art biennial exhibitions in 1969, 1977, 1979, and 1999. Close has been awarded numerous honorary degrees, and was recognized in 1992 by The American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, of which he is now a member.