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Chuck Close, Leslie, 1986

Challenged by the opportunity to have one of his portraits translated into a Japanese-style woodcut, Close devised a watercolor prototype made up of thousands of irregular blots and diamonds distributed across a grid. Specialized craftsmen in Japan translated the watercolor, carving it into a series of wooden blocks. Fifty-one blocks were required to produce Leslie, with many printed more than once. Indeed, each print in the edition was created by impressing the paper onto inked wood blocks 117 times.

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Chuck Close with the printer Tadashi Toda in Kyoto, Japan, 1986, photograph by Kathan Brown, Courtesy Crown Point Press

Banner image: Detail, Chuck Close, Leslie (working proof 4), 1986, color woodcut on Japanese paper, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Crown Point Press Archive, Gift of Crown Point Press, © Chuck Close, Courtesy Pace Gallery

Next: Chuck Close, Self-Portrait, 2010–2013