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Online Collection

Hidden No More: CSM Launches Online Collection and Research Database

More than 4,000 items—including 1,200+ never-before-seen works—now available

Denver, CO—Home to the world’s most intact public collection of a major American artist, the Clyfford Still Museum launched two new online discovery tools today. More than 2,200 works of art—approximately 470 paintings  and 1,750 works on paper by Still—are now available in high-resolution reproductions at collection.clyffordstillmuseum.org. More than 1,900 objects from the Clyfford Still Archives are also now public for the first time in the Museum’s new research database at clyffordstillmuseum.org/database. The launch was first reported by the New York Times.

“This occasion is especially momentous in light of the fact that Denver’s collection of Still’s work—one of the last great treasures of twentieth-century American art, donated directly from the estates of Clyfford and Patricia Still— was hidden from public and scholarly view for 60 years,” notes Dean Sobel, director. “Together with the recent exhibition of Still’s work to 675,000 people in London and Bilbao, these online discovery tools represent tremendous progress towards establishing Clyfford Still’s rightful place in art history.” The Museum estimates conservatively that roughly 18,000 hours of work were required to produce the Online Collection and Research Database that are now public.

Approximately 70% of the City and County of Denver’s collection of Still’s art is included in the Online Collection’s debut. More than 1,200 of the featured works have never been exhibited publicly. The Museum will eventually publish the entire City collection representing a full 95% of Still’s entire artistic output.

Through full-screen, deep-zoom capabilities, the Online Collection offers close examination of Still’s art at a scale that reveals detailed surfaces and clear evidence of his painterly gestures. It is also the first online art museum collection to include a slow-looking tool with every object, presenting a more intimate viewing experience than standard digital surrogates for in-person appreciation. Explorers can sort items by more than 30 subject fields as well as criteria including object type, materials, creation date, and creation location. Images can be viewed online and also downloaded for personal use and study.

Among many other items from the Clyfford Still Archives, the Research Database includes installation photography and ephemera from exhibitions throughout the artist’s career; personal photographs of Still’s homes, studios, and travels; portraits of the artist and his family; and more than 170 historical journal articles, news items, and other publications related to Clyfford Still with searchable full text. Users can view detailed work descriptions and  cataloging  information, export thumbnails, and construct persistent URLs linking back to items or searches. Already quite substantial, the Research Database currently includes just 17% of all objects in the Clyfford Still Archives. Completion of the archives’ processing is estimated to require another 20,000 hours of work.

The online collection has been developed in partnership with Cogapp, a UK/NYC digital publishing systems provider. Cogapp was a partner on for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s online collection, which features more than 340,000 works of art online, and MoMA.guide, among many other museum projects.

The Clyfford Still Museum’s fall exhibition, Still & Art (September 29, 2017–January 21, 2018), will be the Museum’s 21st exhibition since opening in the fall of 2011. In six years the Museum has also created six full-length publications; organized three national symposia; co-produced an hour-long documentary film; collaborated with artists including Matthew Barney, Mark Bradford, Roni Horn, and Julian Schnabel; presented keynotes by Michael Kimmelman, Jerry Saltz, and Roberta Smith; built an innovative free school visit program; and made its public programs and youth admission free to all. The Museum has exhibited 783 different works of art by Clyfford Still to date. Slightly more than 2,400 works in Denver’s collection remain to be exhibited.


The Clyfford Still Museum opened in November of 2011 to promote public appreciation and scholarly understanding of the life and work of Clyfford Still (1904–80). Considered one of the most important—yet mysterious—painters of the 20th century, Still was among the first generation of Abstract Expressionist artists who developed a new, powerful approach to painting in the years following World War II. In addition to approximately 9,000 square feet of exhibition space devoted solely to the artist’s work, the Museum also houses the Clyfford Still Archives and the Clyfford Still Museum Research Center. The Los Angeles Times calls the Museum “a marvelous model for what a single-artist museum can be.” Smithsonian Magazine describes the Museum as “among the best art museum experiences anywhere.” The Museum was designed by Allied Works Architecture, which received the 2013 Design Award, 2012 Honor Award, and 2012 Craftsmanship Award from regional chapters of the American Institute of Architects for the project.


Cogapp makes ambitious ideas come to life using digital media. Founded in 1985, it operates from a headquarters in Brighton and an outpost in New York. They have worked with museums for decades. Clients past and present include Tate, MoMA, British Library, Clyfford Still Museum, Yiddish Book Center and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. They love technically challenging, specialized digital projects. Their portfolio includes websites, online collection publishing systems, an app to synchronise thousands of phones, digital art installations, and online archives containing millions of items. cogapp.com

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