In 1951, Clyfford Still ended his relationship with the prestigious Betty Parsons Gallery in New York. From that time forward, only a very select few of his works entered the art market. As a result, the Clyfford Still Museum now houses 95 percent of the artist’s total output, making its collection the most intact body of work of any major artist.
In addition to the artworks, the Museum is also home to the artist’s archives of letters, sketchbooks, manuscripts, photo albums, and personal effects. The Museum’s rotating exhibition program, drawn almost exclusively from the Museum’s extensive collections, illuminates both Still and the important period of American art history surrounding his lifetime. The Museum also works with the Denver Art Museum and neighboring institutions in the development of joint programming that further contextualizes and complements the collection.
The Clyfford and Patricia Still Collections, held by the City and County of Denver, contain approximately 825 paintings and over 2,300 works on paper, including:
- 100 paintings dating from 1920–1943: Pictures from Still’s student years, Depression-era works, Surrealist-inspired works, and first forays into abstraction
- 350 paintings dating from 1944–1960: Still’s “breakthrough period” and the years of “high” Abstract Expressionism, an era when many canvases span over ten-by-fourteen feet
- 375 paintings dating from 1961–1979: Later works, most of which have never been exhibited
- Works on paper spanning all aspects of Still’s career in such media as pastel, crayon, charcoal, gouache, tempera, graphite, and pen and ink—these also have very seldom been exhibited.