By Bailey Harberg, Collections Manager
The Monday before the Clyfford Still Museum celebrated our one-year anniversary, we completed the works on paper inventory. It was a bittersweet moment uncovering the last work in the final box; it has been such an unbeatable year of discoveries and surprises.
Clyfford Still created 43 works in 1980, all of which are pastels on paper created in the first four days of January: twenty works on January 1st, nine on January 2nd, three on January 3rd, and eleven on January 4th. There is no way of knowing which of the eleven made on January 4th was Clyfford Still’s final creation, but PP-1444 (the final work to be inventoried, also dated Jan. 4, 1980) has a quiet intensity about it that can’t be ignored. I spent a few more moments than necessary with this work thinking about how sick the artist must have been at this point to have stopped creating works of art after this day and wondering what he had been thinking about as he flitted the pastel across the paper.
Although we have checked off the last work on paper listed in Patricia Still’s inventory, our work is just beginning. We now have more than 300 additional works on paper to mat and prep for exhibition and study than we anticipated (with the paper inventory now reaching over 1,900), and we are gearing up to install the third works on paper rotation (opening December 18th).
Cheers to a happy holiday season and never taking a day for granted.