Chuck Close in known for his enormous portraits—up close images that capture every detail of his subjects, visually exposing the real person behind the canvas. This intimate work depicts his wife’s late grandmother Fanny, whom the artist called amazing, modest and kind.
In 1985, artist Chuck Close applied oil paint directly on his fingertips to create a masterful portrait of his grandmother. “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.” 
“Fanny/Fingerpainting,” Close’s portrait of the elderly woman is hanging in the contemporary section of the National Gallery of Art.
Photos © Chuck Close