Clyfford Still

Untitled
1956

On view
Floor 7

Artist
Clyfford Still

Title
Untitled

Date
1956

Medium
Oil on canvas

Dimensions
Overall: 113 1/8 × 147 1/4 in. (287.3 × 374 cm)

Classification
Paintings

Credit line
Gift of The American Contemporary Art Foundation, Inc., Leonard A. Lauder, President

Accession number
2002.265

Rights and reproductions information
© artist or artist’s estate

Description
In this enormous painting—measuring more than 9 feet high and 12 feet long—Clyfford Still’s trademark colored cracks sluice the canvas with crisp, serrated edges. Made with a palette knife in thick layers of impasto, the jagged crimson, black, and white shapes are defined in areas of accreted paint and punctured by tiny crags of electric blue and deep yellow. Although Still’s imagery has been compared to lightning bolts or fissures in the earth, he cited immaterial sources: “I never wanted color to be color. I never wanted texture to be texture, or images to become shapes. I wanted them all to fuse into a living spirit.” Still resisted identifying single explanations or interpretations of his paintings and avoided titling them. While he distanced himself from the other Abstract Expressionist painters, elements of Still’s work reflect the innovations of the movement, particularly the notion that every part of a painting’s flat surface could pulse with energy.