THE PRIVATE MUSEUMS - Clyfford Still Museum



Although one of the lesser known American Abstract Expressionist painters, it was, in fact, Clyfford Still who was first among the innovators of that art form to lay down the groundwork for “the powerful and influential art movement that developed in the United States following World War II”.


Born in 1904 in Grandin, North Dakota, Still spent his childhood in Spokane, Washington and Bow Island in southern Alberta and received his Master of Arts degree from Washington State University.  He taught there, at the California School of Fine Arts, now known as the San Francisco Art Institute, and at the Virginia Commonwealth Institute as a means of earning a living while developing his unique signature style.  He combined natural forms and natural phenomena and worked in the format of a large scale color field applied with palette knives.


Still’s contemporaries included Philip Guston, Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell, Barnett Newman, Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock.  While settled in New York during the 1950s, Still exhibited his works in Peggy Guggenheim’s “The Art of this Century Gallery” and at the “Betty Parsons Gallery”.  By 1961, however, he severed all ties with commercial galleries and moved to a farm near Westminster, Maryland where he resided and painted until his death in 1980.


In his will Still bequeathed his entire estate to any American city “willing to establish ‘permanent quarters’ dedicated to his work” and his work alone.  No work was ever to be sold or loaned to other institutions.   The City of Denver, Colorado stepped up to the plate in 2004 and was chosen by Still’s widow, Patricia, to receive the large Still collection that comprised 94% of the artist’s lifetime creative output, as well as her own estate minus four of its paintings.  These paintings were sold at auction for $114 million with the proceeds donated to the future Clyfford Still Museum “to support its endowment and collection-related expenses”.


The two-storey, 28,500-square-foot museum building was designed by Brad Cloepfil of Allied Works Architecture in Denver’s “Golden Triangle Arts District” near the Denver Art Museum, solely to display approximately 2800 of Still’s works in 10,000 square feet of galleries; 825 paintings, 1,850 works on paper, and three sculptures.  The Still Museum is also the repository for Still’s vast archives.  


The Museum offers a unique experience in rotating exhibitions to enhance appreciation and “understanding of Still’s significant role in the evolution of American art and to explore various aspects of Still’s life, career and creative output”.  It offers an extraordinary introduction to a great artist who was a man of mystery and “the bulk of whose work was hidden from public view” for decades.


Hours: Tuesday – Sunday: 10:00AM – 5:00PM   Friday: 10:00AM – 8:00PM

Admission: Adults: $10./ Seniors: $8./ Students: $6./ Youth (6-17): $3.

Tours: Free

Location: 1250 Bannock Street, Denver Colorado 80204

Tel: 720-354-4880 






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