Denver just put most of its gorgeous Clyfford Still collection online for free

It’s a remarkable transformation for work that once was hidden away, with more than 1,200 never-before-seen works available on the free website.

(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photo
Selections from the Clyfford Still Museum Online Collection. All works © City and County of Denver / ARS, NY.

Selections from the Clyfford Still Museum Online Collection. All works © City and County of Denver / ARS, NY.

After he died in 1980, much of Clyfford Still’s artwork was sealed away from scholars and the public. The painter had wanted his enormous archive to remain complete, so he had ordered that it only be given to an American city that would create a permanent home for his work.

Denver, of course, became that place when it opened the Clyfford Still Museum in 2011. And now it’s gone a step further: The museum has launched an expansive digital archive with high-resolution images of about 70 percent of the city’s Still collection.

It’s a remarkable transformation for work that once was hidden away, with more than 1,200 never-before-seen works available on the free website.

Eventually, the archive will include the entire Denver collection, which represents about 95 percent of everything Still ever created. It took more than 17,000 hours of work to build the database, according to the museum.

In browsing around, I’ve found the website to be intuitive and interesting, especially with the ability to zoom closely on the work and apply helpful filters.

Still didn’t have a particular Denver connection. He grew up in North Dakota, Washington and Canada, but then-mayor John Hickenlooper worked closely with his widow to bring his legacy to Denver. He is considered a giant of American art.

The Still museum is at 1250 Bannock Street, near Civic Center. Find hours and admission here.

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