Maquette for April
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© Chuck Close

Chuck Close
American, New York City, 1990
Polaroid Polacolor ER print with tape, ink, and paint, mounted to foamcore
20 x 24 in.

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The thing I like about a photograph is that it represents a frozen, poemlike moment in time. It remains constant, and the painting, however long it takes to make, is always about that quintessential moment.
--Chuck Close

Although it took months for Chuck Close to complete a monumental painting of fellow painter April Gornik, the portrait reflects a brief moment in time because it was based on a photograph. Close, best known for his large-scale, detailed paintings of portrait heads, begins each new work with an extreme close-up, usually of a face, taped to a board. The photograph is then squared so it can be enlarged and transferred by hand to canvas. The enormity of the completed painting magnifies each realistic detail of the subject's appearance, including wrinkles and freckles. Along the right-hand border of this image, Close tested a range of paint colors in an attempt to find the appropriate balance for the painting.