1947-H No. 1 (PH-265)

Clyfford Still American

Not on view

Although Still was born in the same year as Arshile Gorky and Willem de Kooning, he arrived at a mature—and for him definitive—style somewhat earlier than his contemporaries. This painting can thus be seen as prescient but also conclusive: it shows Still as the master of his newly invented formal vocabulary, and it could well be argued that this work would remain unsurpassed for the remainder of his long career. Although Still’s imagery has often been likened to landscape, for him the figure was at the root of his abstraction: "the figure stands behind it all." He stripped down details "to see what just the idea of an eye or an arm or a head might be. But by then it’s something else, of course, a whole new world, for which there are no words." Still wanted the viewer to be caught off guard and made uneasy, believing that "these are not paintings in the usual sense; they are life and death merging in fearful union."

1947-H No. 1 (PH-265), Clyfford Still (American, Grandin, North Dakota 1904–1980 Baltimore, Maryland), Oil on canvas

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.