Self-Portrait (1 of 3 Parts)
American, 1940 – 2021
Chuck Close is well known for his large-scale paintings of heads, all of which are based on photographs. Although photographs have been essential to Close’s art since the late 1960s, he primarily views them as tools for his paintings rather than independent works of art. This enormous, three-panel photograph depicting the lower half of Close’s bearded face was a point of departure for the artist. It is one in a series of multipanel self-portraits he produced while experimenting with a large-format Polaroid camera from 1979 to 1980.
Like the paintings for which he is known, Close’s photographs are intensely realistic and representational, while directing our attention to the process of picture making. Here, Close ignores the customary focus on the eyes and concentrates instead on the chin in this vastly over-life-size portrait.