Monday, January 14, 2013


by Chuck Close 

Recently, I visited the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.; I heard about the “Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective” exhibit that would be on display there from October 14, 2012 to January 13, 2013 and I wanted to see it before they closed it.

Yet, ironically the highlight of my little escapade to the museum was not the viewing of the “Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective” exhibit, but Chuck Close’s “ Fanny” finger-painting. I've seen copies of it before, but it’s nothing like seeing it in person. 

According to the National Gallery of Art “Fanny” is “a portrait of Close's grandmother-in-law, [it] 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 contrast in viewing the painting from a distance and close up is what had me in awe for at least 10 minutes. After, admiring the piece for so long, I was done. I knew that nothing else I would see after could compare, so after a long day and one amazing piece I finished my day at the National Gallery of Art with a smile.
Click here, to plan a visit!

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