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Clyfford Still

1904 - 1980


Moves with family to southern Alberta when Canadian government opens area for homesteading.


Enrols at Art Students League, New York, but is disappointed by courses and spends time visiting museums and galleries.


Moves to Washington State; studies art at Spokane University.

1927 - 31

Returns to Canada and studies independently.

1931 - 33

Continues his studies at Spokane University, graduating in 1933.

1933 - 41

Moves to Pullman, Washington. Teaches fine arts at Washington State College and continues to paint. Studies literary criticism and philosophy.


Assigns numbers to his canvases, rather than titles. Starts to paint non-figurative works.

1941 - 43

Moves to California, works in the aircraft and shipbuilding industries.


First solo exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Art.

1943 - 45

Teaches art at Richmond Professional Institute, Virginia.


Has solo exhibition at Art of This Century Gallery, New York. Spends spring and summer in Westlock, Alberta, where he builds a house. Teaches at the California School of Fine Arts in the fall.


Solo exhibition at Betty Parsons Gallery, New York.


Attempts to establish a school called "The Subjects of the Artist" in New York together with artists such as Mark Rothko and Robert Motherwell to promote their ideas on abstract painting to a younger generation of artists. Postpones involvement in the school and returns to teach at the California School of Fine Arts, San Francisco.


Paints a number of heavily textured virtually monochromatic canvases in blacks, reds, and yellows. Paints 1949-G (NGC).


Returns to New York. Has another solo exhibition at Betty Parsons Gallery, the same year as Barnett Newman.


Along with Pollock, Rothko, and others, exhibits seven paintings in the influential 15 Americans exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art.

1952 - 58

Refuses to exhibit his work publicly, and turns down invitations to exhibit at four Venice Biennales and in major European museums, in order to concentrate fully on painting.


Selects 72 painting for retrospective at Albright Art Gallery in Buffalo.


Believes his work must be seen as a body to be fully appreciated and donates 31 paintings to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery on the condition that "they be held permanently and continuously in the Albright-Knox Art Gallery not permitted to be shipped from the museum to any other gallery or city."

1964 - 74

Receives honorary doctorates and awards and continues to paint and exhibit his work.


Presents a gift of 28 paintings to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.


Retrospective exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.


Dies June 23.

image not available

Birth name

Clyfford Still


Born in Grandin, North Dakota, 30 November 1904


Died in Baltimore, Maryland, 23 June 1980




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