After seven years and more than 3,400 paintings, Denver’s Clyfford Still Museum has unveiled the abstract artist’s final works.
With special gloves and a lot of patience, a team from the museum carefully unrolled the last canvases in storage Monday on Facebook Live.
Inside were a series of Still’s paintings dated from the mid-to-late 1970s. The works were done towards the end of the prolific artist’s career, when he would typically roll paintings up soon after completing them. Several of the oil paintings were still slightly wet.
Museum director Dean Sobel said it’s details like that, that help them learn more about Still and his work.
“The fact that most of what we are seeing has never been seen by anyone since the artist made it,” Sobel said. “And I think that’s also been some of the excitement in this work that we’ve been doing is trying to understand and learn how each painting fits into this large and really complex puzzle.”
After Still’s death in 1980, his estate was sealed off from the public. His will stipulated that his entire collection be given to an American city willing to establish a permanent museum dedicated solely to his work. In 2004, Denver was selected to receive the collection and the museum opened in 2011.
The final paintings will be examined, and necessary repairs and restorations will be made before they can be displayed.