Clyfford Still (1904-1980) was born in Grandin, North Dakota, educated in Washington at Spokane University, and taught at the University in Pullman, Richmond Professional Institute, and the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco. He was primarily a painter who typically worked with a palette of black and white with contrasting colours, often favouring variations of yellow and red.
His artistic output is marked by a growing inclination toward abstraction, from semi-abstract works of figures and landscapes in the mid 1930s to works of total abstraction in the 1940s. In 1948, Still worked with an artist group including Mark Rothko to develop the movement The Subjects of the Artists. Still also developed a friendship with the artist Jackson Pollock, and is associated with the Abstract Expressionists. Though a solitary figure who chose an isolated life in Maryland from 1961, Still earned many prizes and prestigious exhibitions, including the Award of Merit for Painting from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1972 and a major retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 1980, the year he died.