Monday, February 27, 2012

STILL-NESS

"A great free joy surges through me when I work ... with tense slashes and a few thrusts, the beautiful white fields receive their color and the work is finished in a few minutes." 

                                                            -- Clyfford Still, Abstract Expressionist artist


Clyfford Still Museum
Colors, including this visitor's electric blue,
startled me out of my winter doldrums!

Clyfford Still Museum
You can sense the monumental scale of the art.
I love the sliver of red-orange, like sunset on the horizon,
struggling not to sink into the twilight


I'm finally back from the snow-laden slopes of Colorado.  A few hours before our flight home, we decided to swing by the new Clyfford Still Museum in Denver, housing roughly 95% of this reclusive artist's works.  Still was a force in the Abstract Expressionist Movement though he broke away from the art world at the height of his creativity.


Clyfford Still Museum
Color and texture via palette knife and trowel


Clyfford Still Museum
Colors and forms on white canvas

The Still Estate bequeathed nearly his entire oeuvre to Denver.  The lucky city had agreed to carry out the artist's stipulation to only show his works in its (near) entirety.  No competition from fellow abstract expressionists -- Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, etc. -- to distract from his work!  Now I understand why the San Francisco MoMA had an entire gallery of Clyfford Still paintings.  He refused to share walls with his former friends!  

Clyfford Still Museum
The architecture was specifically designed to house Still's works

Clyfford Still Museum
Natural light through holes in the ceiling

We discovered more interesting objects in the basement, like his personal effects.  Still may have lived on a farm but his tastes in literature and music were quite sophisticated.

Clyfford Still Museum
Still's personal effects -- including LPs of opera and classical music,
his book collection and typewriter -- were in the basement

Clyfford Still Museum
I love the hint of cyan marching off the frame

It was marvelous to be enveloped by some of the most original art of the 20th century.  As Still himself said,  "It's intolerable to be stopped by a frame's edge."  Fortunately, we were engulfed by his colors!  

Interestingly, these eye-opening hues were the harbinger of springtime back in California.  Apple, plum and cherry blossoms greeted us upon our return.  Much like his splashes of color against a snowy canvas.

I hope you have all been well and I will catch up with you soon!



28 comments:

  1. These are so beautiful! When i was younger i really disliked abstract art. Then i fell in love with Rothko and these strong paintings just make my day. So evocative.

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  2. Stunning pics and work of art, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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  3. I didn't know Still until this post. Thanks for introducing me to him. His artwork is amazing and so are your photographs. Love the colors.

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  4. Thank You, for the lovely comment on my blog. I wandered through your blog and found such a wide range of posts. I found it quite inspiring. I followed you on both GFC and Bloglovin. I hope that you like my blog and follow back on both, if you are so inclined.

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  5. Love your blog ! So inspiring !

    http://clement-dezelus.blogspot.com

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  6. I love Rothko and I found these paintings happier than Rothko's ones these remind me of Mexico, beautiful vibrant colours :) really enjoy this post, as always I love your posts beacause for me it's a break in outfits, outfits, bags, shoes... posts :)

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  7. I hadn't heard of him either. Fantastic artwork the colors are so well combined in every painting. Also these photographs are great too. Thanks for sharing his work with us! I hope all is well with you. (-:

    Have a wonderful week Jenny!

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  8. I enjoyed this post so much. I'm always so amazed by the labour that goes behind housing such works, especially the architecture or framing if necessary. I appreciate Still's art.

    Have a great week. -xx

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  9. You write about modern art so beautifully, I could never see what you see that easily! So excited Coppelia is on in London! I know you're a ballet fan so had to tell you x

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  10. these are exquisite!
    to see such creation with your own eyes must be something..

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  11. love the extreme strenght of these vivid colors. your first two photos with the people in front of the paintings are geniously splendid.

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  12. Even reproduced via your photos the paintings just exude vibrant dynamism that seems to reach out and deliver something like a charge to the senses. I'd love to see them up close, especially the scale of them.
    In answer to your question about Bristol, no I don't live there but know it very well. Our closest family friends live there so I've been visiting since I was a few weeks old!
    Oh and I googled Avedon's photos of Nureyev's feet. They are extraordinary.

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  13. how wonderful to run across this post! i taught a workshop last summer on abstract expressionism. clyfford still was one of the artists i featured.

    the second image here, the blue painting, just glows. it's deep and mysterious.

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  14. I must be honest and tell you that I didn't know about this artist. I see that I like his painting they are somehow transfering me a sense of life.
    Don't Call Me Fashion Blogger
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  15. So glad that you enjoyed your visit to the Museum! Thanks for the post and the stunning photos. Hope you come to visit us again!

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  16. What a great idea to visit the museum. I'm especially enamoured with the big blue picture... and, oh look, you even got a comment from the Clyfford Museum themselves! X

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  17. Just stumbled across your blog and I am in love! I love the layout to the content and everything in between! I am your newest follower!
    On my blog, I do these Link posts, I would love to feature your blog as one of the posts I adore this week!

    -- www.theeasternpearl.blogspot.com

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  18. I love his paintings - but YOUR pictures of the exhibition visitors in their strikingly coloured clothes are the images which stay with me.

    Some of the paintings remind me in a way of decline and decay - the blues and greens of mould, or the layers of paint scraped or peeled off an old surface - but their vibrant colours directly contradict this impression - probably one reason they seem so lively.

    Actually I would love to see some of his paintings reproduced in tapestry. There's a fascinating tapestry works in the Alentejo, Portugal, which I am sure would be capable of doing this. It's called Manufactura Tapeçarias Portalegre, if you have heard of it.

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  19. such beauty; i find it wonderfu actually how you anonymous visitors n your pictures seem to embellish the work. thanks for sharing, this made my lunch break really lovely :)

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  20. These are fantastic, love the colours!! Just magical...hope you have a great weekend!! xx

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  21. These are amazing photos! Love how you've captured the colours - the woman's blue cardigan against the orange, following with the images of the indigo canvas - nicely done!

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  22. Fantastic photos! These paintings are great. Amazing colors!
    Love the post :)

    xx

    www.sickbytrend.com

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  23. these paintings are beautiful. i love how you've captured it in the second photo. the high contrast of the man in the corner makes the painting even more striking.

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  24. I've never heard of this artist. I loved his bright vivid colors and the way they had specially designed the space for them and then I found his rather cranky condition that his paintings not be mixed up with other paintings hysterical (and typical of painters somehow.)

    I really love your blog!
    xx
    Izzy
    www.misadventuresofme.com

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Dear Fellow Aesthetes, I love hearing your thoughts. I think the other readers find them valuable too! Much love xxx

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