Portrait Of Frank James

%C2%A9 Chuck Close%2C courtesy PaceWildenstein%2C New York

Frank, 1969


Acrylic on canvasexpand_more

The John R. Van Derlip Fundexpand_more  69.137


The model for this painting was not Frank himself but rather an 8 x 10-inch photograph of him. In the 1960s, Chuck Close photographed his subjects and then meticulously copied the photographic images, in paint, onto large canvases. With this painstaking technique, he preserved the objectivity of photography. Close also simulated the way the camera, like the human eye, focuses on one area at a time, leaving other areas blurred. By these means, he directed our attention to some intriguing aspects of visual perception.

A work of such grand scale--typical of American painting after 1950--is unsettling, particularly when it features a colossal human head. "The large scale," Close explained, "forces the viewer to read the surface of the painting differently...[to] look at it piece by piece." The details, then, can be perceived either as facial pores and hairs or as an abstract pattern of black, gray, and white.

Artist Life
born 1940
Accession Number
Curator Approved

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Portrait Of Frank James

© Chuck Close, courtesy PaceWildenstein, New York