From The Telegraph:
One aspect of Chuck Close’s life inevitably overshadows all others. In 1988, two decades into a scintillating career as a painter of what Christopher Finch calls “ruthlessly detailed – some would say pitiless – supersized portraits”, the American artist suffered a collapsed spinal artery, paralysing him from the shoulders down. And yet, having agonisingly won back some movement and attached a paintbrush to his hand via a splint, Close was soon painting again. Three years later, he was as successful as ever. It helped that shortly before what he calls “The Event”, he’d developed a method of assembling imagery from tiny loops and lozenges of colour arranged in a grid, and although quadriplegic he could still do that: “as if the artist, while healthy, had anticipated a need,” Finch writes. Yet it surely helped more that Close is a world-class survivor.
As Finch’s detailed biography makes clear, the artist received matchless grounding in earlier years. Close grew up with neuromuscular disorders that made it difficult for him to walk straight or raise his arms, plus severe astigmatism, dyslexia and attendant learning difficulties, and – the disadvantage that was probably the making of him – prosopagnosia, the inability to recognise faces, which made him obsessed with the mechanics of their depiction.