Portrait Of Frank James

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

Frank, 1969

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Acrylic on canvasexpand_more

The John R. Van Derlip Fundexpand_more  69.137

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The model for this painting was not Frank himself but rather an 8-by-10-inch photograph of him. Since the late 1960s, Chuck Close’s method has been to start with a photographic print that he enlarges and overlays with a grid. He then systematically transposes each gridded block directly onto the canvas or paper, meticulously refining and finishing the image. The result is a technically masterful and ironically monumental portrait. By his painstaking technique, he preserves the objectivity of photography. A work of such grand scope—typical of American painting after 1950—is unsettling, particularly when it features a colossal human head. “The large scale,” Close said, “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.

Details
Title
Frank
Artist Life
born 1940
Role
Artist
Accession Number
69.137
Curator Approved

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Portrait Of Frank James

© Chuck Close, courtesy PaceWildenstein, New York