Still, Clyfford

Still, Clyfford,

1904–80, American painter, b. Grandin, N.Dak. A brilliant painter, he was one of the founders of abstract expressionismabstract expressionism,
movement of abstract painting that emerged in New York City during the mid-1940s and attained singular prominence in American art in the following decade; also called action painting and the New York school.
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, although never one of the style's best-known practitioners. The reclusive Still was a pioneer in the use of the mural-sized canvas. He painted vast, thick curtains of intense color, jaggedly torn to reveal other equally intense color areas. His work combines the gesture of abstract expressionism with a reliance on the sensations of pure color typical of color-field paintingcolor-field painting,
abstract art movement that originated in the 1960s. Coming after the abstract expressionism of the 1950s, color-field painting represents a sharp change from the earlier movement.
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. Still's first one-man show was held in 1947, and his work is represented in New York's Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and many other collections. A major museum (2011) devoted entirely to his work is located in Denver.


See catalog of his work (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1979).

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Still, Clyfford

(1904–80) painter; born in Grandin, N.D. He was raised in Canada and Spokane, Wash., studied at Washington State University (1935), taught there until 1941, moved to San Francisco, and began teaching at the California School of Fine Arts in 1946. In New York he was one of the founders of the Subjects of the Artist teaching group (1948–49), settled in Maryland (1966), and continued to teach. He painted abstract organic canvases in the 1940s, and by the 1950s, he achieved recognition as an abstract expressionist, as in Painting (1951).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.