The first guest on this week’s Modern Art Notes Podcast is one of the world’s top abstract expressionism scholars: David Anfam. In recent years Anfam has been working with the new Clyfford Still Museum on its collections and installations. The CSM is currently showing selections from its collection alongside “Vincent/Clyfford,” an installation that demonstrates how Still looked closely at van Gogh. The museum has also just published “Clyfford Still: The Artist’s Museum,” which features a major essay by Anfam on Still’s life and work. (Amazon offers the book for $25 off.)
If you think you’ve seen this 1944 Still (shown above in a detail) at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, you sorta have. Still sometimes painted multiple versions of similar compositions, but there may be a little more than that to why there are two versions of this composition. Here’s the version Still kept for himself, and here’s the version he sold to MoMA, which Still said he made “willfully of indifferent quality.” I tell the full Still vs. MoMA story here.
Image: Clyfford Still, 1944-N No. 1 (detail), 1944. Collection of the Clyfford Still Museum, Denver.