Last night my partner and I went to the opening of the Clyfford Still Museum here in Denver. WOW! It is amazing!
The inaugural exhibit it thoughtfully curated – offering a chronological view of his work spanning his career. I think, for me what struck me the most was seeing the evolution of the work. The show clearly presents a progression beginning with landscapes and portraits, quickly leading us into his exploration of abstraction and ultimately his readily identifiable expressionist pieces.
I was anticipating the darker, heavier pieces that represented his agrarian roots during the depression but didn’t anticipate the lighter, more cheerful works. These treasures, hidden for so many years, are a bit like giants awaking from their slumber – still stretching out and beginning to tell their stories.
The rooms are perfectly proportioned and sequenced to showcase his art with carefully constructed vantage points revealing from one gallery, the next. The honeycomb ceiling allows natural light to permeate the concrete building, providing ideal viewing conditions while louvers protect the artwork from the damaging sun. The two-story building, designed by Brad Cloepfil of Allied Works Architecture is refined – it is an elegant solution to display the work and to house art being stored, archived & researched.
ABOUT CLYFFORD STILL
Clyfford Still’s work was marked by expressive brush work, and abstracted forms – the blending of color, texture and shape to create something entirely new. His shift away from figurative and surrealist styles in the late 30’s and early 40’s happened nearly a decade before other artists including Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman began the pursuit of what is now known as Abstract Expressionism. His estate, along with that of his wife, has been left to the city and will be maintained by the museum – it represents the bulk(94%) of Still’s life work – some 2400 paintings, works on paper and sculptures.