Art: Denver’s Clyfford Still Museum Releases Digital Collection of “One of America’s Most Secretive Artists”
From 303 Magazine:
Clyfford Still was easily one of America’s most secretive modern artists. Fueled by his distrust of the art world, he was highly meticulous in how and where his work would be displayed. It wasn’t until after his death, when his estate was bequeathed to the City of Denver to create a museum dedicated solely to his work, that the public had access to his influential collection. But even after the debut of the museum, thousands of pieces of art remained unseen — hidden in an archive described as the most intact public collection of an American artist and one of the largest ever maintained by an abstract expressionist.
But as of this September, the majority of Still’s lifework was laid bare in one fell swoop with the debut of an online archive.
Home to the world’s most intact public collection of a major American artist, the Museum [has] formally launched two new online discovery tools.
More than 2,200 works of art—approximately 470 paintings and 1,750 works on paper by Still—are available in high-resolution reproductions.
More than 1,900 objects from the Clyfford Still Archives are also now public for the first time in the Museum’s new research database.
Approximately 70% of the City and County of Denver’s collection of Still’s art is included in the Online Collection’s debut. More than 1,200 of the featured works have never been exhibited publicly. The Museum will eventually publish the entire City collection representing a full 95% of Still’s entire artistic output.
Through full-screen, deep-zoom capabilities, the Online Collection offers close examination of Still’s art at a scale that reveals detailed surfaces and clear evidence of his painterly gestures.
It is also the first online art museum collection to include a slow-looking tool with every object, presenting a more intimate viewing experience than standard digital surrogates for in-person appreciation.
Explorers can sort items by more than 30 subject fields as well as criteria including object type, materials, creation date, and creation location. Images can be viewed online and also downloaded for personal use and study.
Among many other items from the Clyfford Still Archives, the Research Database includes installation photography and ephemera from exhibitions throughout the artist’s career; personal photographs of Still’s homes, studios, and travels; portraits of the artist and his family; and more than 170 historical journal articles, news items, and other publications related to Clyfford Still with searchable full text. Users can view detailed work descriptions and cataloging information, export thumbnails, and construct persistent URLs linking back to items or searches. Already quite substantial, the Research Database currently includes just 17% of all objects in the Clyfford Still Archives. Completion of the archives’ processing is estimated to require another 20,000 hours of work.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.