CLYFFORD STILL (1904-1980)
Clyfford Still was a painter associated with Abstract Expressionism and is best known for his Color Field paintings that resemble jagged, flame-like shapes. Born in Grandin, North Dakota, he studied at Spokane University in Washington, and earned his MFA from Washington State College. After experimenting with agrarian scenes and Surrealism, Still began working in abstraction. He developed a signature technique of applying thick layers of paint onto the canvas using a palette knife, and creating jagged areas of dark tones against lighter areas of yellows, oranges, and dark reds. His work was inspired by the harsh landscape of Canadian prairies, where he spent his early childhood. In 1944, Still moved to New York and began exhibiting alongside emerging Abstract painters such as Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, and Barnett Newman. From this period onward, Still’s titles are composed of dates and numbers, as in his 1944–N No.2. His later work often includes areas of bare canvas and horizontal compositions. Still eventually withdrew from the New York art scene, and began to restrict the lending and exhibition of his paintings. The majority of his work is currently held by the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver, Colorado.