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1949-GEnlarge image

1949-G, 1949

Clyfford Still
American, 1904 - 1980
oil on canvas
231.5 x 176.5 cm
Purchased 1973
National Gallery of Canada (no. 17558)

By eliminating the distinction between figure and ground, Clyfford Still created paintings that confront the viewer with unmediated fields of colour. The black and craggy forms that punctuate the expansive red may remind us of landscape, but specific subject matter and meaning remain elusive. Like many of his contemporaries, Still refused to give his works titles that would confer fixed meaning, designating them only by the year and sequence in which they were made. The viewer is thus invited to engage in the work, and perhaps, as the artist suggests, go beyond "what his fears and hopes and learning teach him to see."

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