Chuck Close, an artist known for his gargantuan portraits, has died. He was 81 and had struggled with Alzheimer’s for the better part of a decade. Close rose to prominence in the 1970s with his massive photorealist portraits of himself and others. In later years, he loosened his technique, especially after a 1988 arterial collapse forced him into a wheelchair and dampened his motor skills. Though he most often painted close friends and other artists, he made an exception for a portrait of Bill Clinton, giving Close a National Medal of the Arts in 2006. Close was accused of sexual harassment four years ago, with several women telling The New York Times that the artist made unwanted sexual remarks about their bodies when they posed for him. The National Gallery postponed a show of his work indefinitely, and Close apologized, saying he did not mean to make his subjects uncomfortable.
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