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Chuck Close – Fingerpainting



Chuck Close Fingerpainting – Fanny/Fingerpainting

Chuck Close (artist)
American, born 1940
Fanny/Fingerpainting, 1985
oil on canvas
overall: 259.1 x 213.4 x 6.3 cm (102 x 84 x 2 1/2 in.)
Gift of Lila Acheson Wallace


Chuck Close - Painting

This ain’t fingerpainting you did in kindergarten! That’s artist Chuck Close “painting” a portrait of his grandmother-in-law with his fingertips.


Chuck Close fingrpainting. The painting Fanny/Fingerpainting, a portrait of Close’s grandmother-in-law, represents one of the largest and most masterly executions of a technique the artist developed in the mid-l980s.

That technique involved the direct application of pigment to a surface with the artist’s fingertips.

By adjusting the amount of pigment and the pressure of his finger on the canvas, Close could achieve a wide range of tonal effects.

Typically, he worked from a black and white photograph which he would divide into many smaller units by means of a grid.

He then transposed the grid onto a much larger canvas and meticulously reproduced each section of it.

The result is a monumental, close-up view that forces an uncomfortable intimacy upon the viewer.

Seen from a distance, the painting looks like a giant, silver-toned photograph that unrelentingly reveals every crack and crevice of the sitter’s face. Closer up, the paint surface dissolves into a sea of fingerprints that have an abstract beauty, even as they metaphorically suggest the withering of the sitter’s skin with age. The fingerpaintings provide a far more literal record of the artist’s touch than most abstract expressionist brushwork — but are at the same time dictated by an abstract, distinctly impersonal system.


Chuck Close was born on July 5, 1940 in Monroe, Washington. At the age of 14, Close saw an exhibition of Jackson Pollack’s abstract paintings, which helped inspire him to become a painter. Throughout his career, he has concentrated on portraits based on photographs he had already taken and has been called a Photo-Realist, Minimalist, and Abstract Expressionist.

  • NAME: Chuck Thomas Close
  • OCCUPATION: EducatorPainter
  • BIRTH DATE: July 051940 (Age: 72)
  • EDUCATION: University of Washington School of Art, Yale University School of Art and Architecture
  • PLACE OF BIRTH: Monroe, Washington



Charles Thomas Close was born at home to Leslie and Mildred Close, a couple with a leaning toward artistic pursuits. Leslie Close was a jack-of-all-trades with a flair for craftsmanship, he built Charles his first easel. His mother was a trained pianist but unable to pursue a musical career due to financial restraints. Determined to provide her son with opportunities she herself never enjoyed, Mildred pushed Charles to take up a myriad of extracurricular activities during his school years and hired a local tutor to give his son private art lessons.

Charles had a difficult time with academics due to dyslexia, although teachers were often impressed with his creative approach to projects. He was also diagnosed at a young age with facial blindness and a neuromuscular condition that prevented him from engaging in athletics, making the social aspects of school life difficult. Once in college, and upon deciding to make a career in art, he excelled.

Read The Whole Story Here … https://www.theartstory.org/artist-close-chuck.htm




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