Dec 3, 2014

Phil Spitbite

Phil Spitbite


Chuck Close Pace Editions

(American, 1940–2021)

Spitbite and aquatint with softground etching

Support: White wove paper (Dieu donne Handmade)

Sheet: 71.6 x 51.2 cm (28 3/16 x 20 3/16 in.); Platemark: 47 x 37.9 cm (18 1/2 x 14 15/16 in.)

Dr. Gerard and Phyllis Seltzer Fund 1996.15

Edition: 60 plus 10 artist's proofs, 4 printer's proofs, 1 B.A.T. and 6 publisher's proofs

Impression: 59/60



Chuck Close is known for his monumental, photographic faces of people close to him, usually family and friends. The subject of this print is composer Philip Glass, a key figure in contemporary classical music. Close first painted Glass in 1969 and since then has produced over ten different images of him, including this one. All of the Phil images—paintings, drawings, and prints made with a wide range of techniques—are based on the same photograph. Close usually begins with a grid pattern, a traditional transfer method, and then uses a labor intensive process to introduce a range of values into the grid. The resulting images usually read more clearly from a distance. In this example, Close created tone by using spitbite, a technique that allowed him to paint an acid mixture directly on the printing plate. The acid ate depressions into the metal, which were filled with ink. The surface of the plate was then wiped clean and printed. The final effect is similar to an ink wash.

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