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Chuck Close Dead - Photorealist Artist Dies at 81

Chuck Close has died.

The prolific artist, who catapulted to fame between the ’70s and ’80s with photorealist portraits, passed away the age of 81 in a hospital in Oceanside, New York, as confirmed by his lawyer to the New York Times on Thursday (August 19).

He made a name for himself for his oversized paintings of himself and the people he knew, including his most famous self portrait, a black and white image of himself with disheveled hair and a cigarette in his mouth. He created the paintings using his signature technique of an airbrush and diluted black paint.

In 2013, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and then frontotemporal dementia in 2015.

In 2017, several women came forward to accuse him of sexual harassment between 2005 and 2013, which he said he did in the interest of evaluating them as potential art subjects. He later issued an apology for “having a dirty mouth.”

“He was very disinhibited and did inappropriate things, which were part of his underlying medical condition. Frontotemporal dementia affects executive function — it’s like a patient having a lobotomy — it destroys that part of the brain that governs behavior and inhibits base instincts. Sexual inappropriateness and disastrous financial decisions are common presenting symptoms. I’ve had a few patients who ended up in jail,” his doctor said.

The allegations also brought up discussions about the art versus the artist, and led to the National Gallery of Art in Washington postponing an exhibition of his works.

He married Leslie Rose in 1967, and the two split in 2011.

Our thoughts are with Chuck Close‘s loved ones at this difficult time.

We have sadly lost many stars in 2021.

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