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Clyfford Still: Paintings from the Collection

Friday, February 18–Sunday, April 10, 2005

Clyfford Still (American, 1904–1980). 1957-D, No. 1, 1957. Oil on canvas. 113 x 159 inches (287 x 403.9 cm). Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery; Gift of Seymour H. Knox, Jr., 1959. © Clyfford Still Estate.

The Albright-Knox Art Gallery owns thirty-three paintings by the abstract expressionist Clyfford Still–the largest public collection of the artist’s work and an ensemble that spans the most critical developments of his career from 1937 to 1963.

This exhibition showcased this collection of paintings–they are, in a sense, pictorial meditations on life, death, and the persistence of spirit. Still’s art is inseparable from the greater development of a postwar intellectual history and the preoccupation–on the part of artists, writers, poets, philosophers, and anthropologists–with a revived interest in primitivism, mythology, and the unconscious. As a visual artist in tune with such theoretical ideas, Still brought a unique perspective to the search for universal meaning. Romantic and visionary till the end, Still never relinquished his belief in painting as an heroic act of faith.