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Chuck Close (American, b. 1940)
Nancy, 1968
Acrylic on canvas
108 3/8 × 82 1/4 in. (275.27 × 208.92 cm)
Gift of Herbert H. Kohl Charities, Inc. M1983.207
Photo credit: Larry Sanders
© Chuck Close, courtesy Pace Gallery
Currently on View

Chuck Close mapped out a singular style by drawing upon elements of Pop Art, Minimalism, and Photo-Realism. Taking the photographic portrait as his subject, presenting it on a colossal scale and then putting it through a complex process of deconstruction and analytic reconstruction, Close created a new kind of art. Antecedents for his approach can be found in advertising billboards and much further back in Renaissance techniques of squaring up drawings for transfer to large-scale fresco paintings. A work such as Nancy, an intense rendering of Close’s friend the artist Nancy Graves, is a confrontational presence. Part actual portrait, part visionary idea of a portrait, the canvas is a translation of the original photograph into a painterly surface of individual marks that coalesce to form areas of focus and fuzziness.

Publication History
Fortune, Brandon Brame, Reaves, Wendy Wick, and Ward, David C. Face Value Portraiture in the Age of Abstraction. D Giles Ltd, 2014, cat. 36, b/w illus., p. 127.

Graves, Nancy Stevenson, Brigitte Franzen, Annette Lagler, Walter Grasskamp, Petra Lange-Berndt, Joan Simon, Johannes Bergerhausen, and Ilka Helmig. Nancy Graves project & special guests. 2013, b/w illus. p. 57.

Milwaukee Art Museum News, April 2006, no page number, color illus., detail.

Andera, Margaret, Nonie Gadsden, Britt Salvesen, and Laurie Winters. Collection Guide: Milwaukee Art Museum. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Milwaukee Art Museum, 2004, pp. 40 and 70, cat. 63, color illus. p. 40.

Milwaukee Art Museum. Building a Masterpiece: Milwaukee Art Museum. New York: Hudson Hill Press, 2001, p. 161, color illus.

Barrett, Terry. Criticizing Art: Understanding the Contemporary. Mountain View, California: Mayfield Pub. Co., 2000, pp. 143–45, b/w illus. p. 144.

Goldstein, Rosalie, ed. Guide to the Permanent Collection. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Milwaukee Art Museum, 1986, p. 224, b/w illus. p. 224.
Exhibition History
Face Value: Portraiture in the Age of Abstraction, Smithsonian Institution, National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC, April 18, 2014–January 11, 2015.

Global Village: The 60's, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, October 2, 2003–January 18, 2004; Dallas Museum of Art, February 19–May 23, 2005.

Chuck Close, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York, February 25–May 26, 1998; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, June 20–September 13, 1998; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC, October 15, 1998–January 20, 1999; Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington, February 18–May 9, 1999; Hayward Gallery, London, England, July 22–September 19, 1999.

This information is subject to change as the result of ongoing research.