Getting to Know Clyfford One Box at a Time…

Posted on March 15, 2012

By Bailey Harberg, Collections Management Associate

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If you have visited the Clyfford Still Museum, you might have noticed a locked glass door by the elevator and wondered what exactly was going on in there. Behind this door, we have been uncovering box after box of previously unseen works on paper by Clyfford Still. These boxes contain close to 1600 works on paper that lie waiting to be photographed, measured, conditioned, and inventoried. Lucky for us, Patricia Still was a meticulous record-keeper and left unbelievably complete lists and pictures of her husband’s work. She must have spent years creating archival sleeves perfectly measured and cut for each piece knowing one day her efforts would be appreciated. While that day has most certainly arrived, much to our delight, works that aren’t inventoried or photographed unexpectedly turn up in boxes every day.

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Photo: Bailey Harberg, Collections Management Associate

Through these posts, you’ll get a rare glimpse of these amazing works as they are re-discovered and catalogued.  Each box is carefully unpacked and checked against Mrs. Still’s lists.  Then, we photograph and note the condition of each work before repacking the box as it was.  Eventually, each work will be matted and rehoused to improve access and storage conditions.  This process has already not only enhanced our knowledge of Clyfford Still’s vast artistic range, but has also increased our awareness of works that are in immediate need of conservation attention.  Hopefully, as we delve deeper into what Clyfford has left us, our records will make Patricia proud and prove useful for future researchers and scholars.

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