The Clyfford Still Museum is located adjacent to the Denver Art Museum. The two-story, 28,500-square-foot building was designed by Brad Cloepfil of Allied Works Architecture specifically to display Still's work. The museum broke ground in December 2009 and was completed in November of 2011. The museum allows visitors the unique experience to understand the legacy of Clyfford Still, an artist whose life has been shrouded in mystery and the bulk of whose work has been hidden from public view for over 30 years." - https://www.clyffordstillmuseum.orgBACK TO THE HOMEPAGE
Still, who passed away in 1980, specified in his will that his entire estate be given to an American city willing to establish "permanent quarters" dedicated to his art. In August 2004, the City of Denver, Colorado, was chosen to receive the paintings contained within the Clyfford Still Estate. This highly sought-after body of work contains over 2,400 artworks (roughly 825 paintings on canvas and 1575 works on paper) covering all periods of the American artist's distinguished career and nearly 94% of his total output.
Nestled in the heart of Denver, Colorado, the Clyfford Still Museum stands as a testament to the profound legacy of one of the most enigmatic and influential figures in the abstract expressionist movement. Dedicated exclusively to the works of Clyfford Still, this museum provides a unique and immersive experience for art enthusiasts, offering a profound insight into the mind of an artist who reshaped the landscape of contemporary art.
The Life and Legacy of Clyfford Still:
Clyfford Still (1904–1980) was a trailblazing artist whose impact on the art world was both profound and enduring. Born in Grandin, North Dakota, Still's journey as an artist took him through various phases and styles before he became a leading figure in the abstract expressionist movement. Still's early works were influenced by regionalism, but his artistic vision evolved over time, leading him to embrace abstraction as a means of expressing the complexity of human emotion and the essence of the human experience. Despite his undeniable talent, Still was a fiercely private individual. His reserved nature and uncompromising dedication to his artistic vision often set him apart from his contemporaries. In 1951, he made a bold decision that would shape the course of his artistic legacy – Still severed ties with commercial galleries, opting to withdraw from the mainstream art scene. This withdrawal allowed him the freedom to create on his terms, shielded from the influence of market trends and public expectations.
The Birth of the Clyfford Still Museum:
The Clyfford Still Museum is not only a celebration of Still's artistic prowess but also a testament to his desire for a dedicated space to house his vast body of work. Still stipulated in his will that his estate, including a substantial number of paintings and sculptures, should be given to an American city willing to construct a museum exclusively for the exhibition and study of his art. Denver emerged as the chosen city, and in 2011, the Clyfford Still Museum opened its doors to the public.
Designed by Brad Cloepfil of Allied Works Architecture, the museum's architectural brilliance complements the power and intensity of Still's artwork. The building is a study in contrasts, featuring a textured, concrete exterior that exudes strength and resilience, while the interior spaces are flooded with natural light, creating an ambiance that enhances the viewing experience. The museum is a masterpiece in itself, carefully conceived to showcase Still's monumental works in a setting that allows visitors to engage with the art on a visceral level. The galleries are arranged chronologically, offering a visual narrative of Still's artistic evolution. The deliberate design choices emphasize the emotional depth of Still's creations and establish a powerful connection between the artist and the audience.
At the heart of the Clyfford Still Museum lies its unparalleled collection of over 3,000 works by the artist. The collection spans Still's entire career, from his early representational works to the monumental abstract canvases that define his legacy. Visitors are guided through the various phases of Still's artistic journey, gaining a comprehensive understanding of the artist's evolving style and the profound shifts in his approach to abstraction. One of the most striking aspects of Still's work is his ability to convey intense emotion through the interplay of color, form, and texture. His canvases, often dominated by expansive fields of richly pigmented hues, create an immersive experience that transcends the boundaries of traditional artistic expression. The sheer scale of some of Still's paintings is awe-inspiring, enveloping viewers in a visual symphony that demands contemplation and introspection.
Education and Engagement:
The Clyfford Still Museum is not just a repository of art; it is also a hub for education and community engagement. The museum's commitment to fostering a deeper understanding of abstract expressionism and Still's contribution to the movement is evident in its diverse range of educational programs and outreach initiatives. From guided tours and workshops to lectures and symposiums, the museum strives to make art accessible to audiences of all ages and backgrounds. The educational programs not only illuminate the nuances of Still's work but also encourage visitors to explore their own interpretations and connections to abstract art. The museum's outreach extends beyond its physical walls through digital platforms, ensuring that art enthusiasts worldwide can access resources and engage with the Clyfford Still collection. This commitment to inclusivity reflects the museum's dedication to fulfilling Still's vision of making his art a source of inspiration and contemplation for generations to come.
Legacy and Influence:
Clyfford Still's impact on the art world is immeasurable, and the museum bearing his name serves as a living tribute to his singular vision. The abstract expressionist movement, of which Still was a pioneering force, continues to shape the trajectory of contemporary art. Artists and scholars alike draw inspiration from Still's ability to convey raw emotion and existential depth through abstraction. The Clyfford Still Museum stands as a beacon of artistic integrity, a space where visitors can connect with the artist on a profound level. As the custodian of Still's vast body of work, the museum ensures that the artist's legacy remains vibrant and relevant, inspiring future generations to explore the boundless possibilities of artistic expression.
The Clyfford Still Museum is more than a collection of paintings; it is a testament to the enduring power of art to transcend time and speak to the human soul. Through its carefully curated exhibits, educational programs, and commitment to accessibility, the museum not only preserves Clyfford Still's legacy but also invites visitors to embark on a journey of self-discovery through the language of abstract expressionism. In the heart of Denver, the Clyfford Still Museum stands as a testament to the enduring power of art to transcend time and speak to the human soul. Through its carefully curated exhibits, educational programs, and commitment to accessibility, the museum not only preserves Clyfford Still's legacy but also invites visitors to embark on a journey of self-discovery through the language of abstract expressionism.