Dramatic in its scale and sharp contrasting colors, 1957-D-No. 1 (PH-48) exemplifies Clyfford Still’s ability to create visually complex yet balanced compositions—each jagged jolt of yellow and beige seamlessly interconnects with the dense black surface. The work’s paradox lies in the way that the opposition between color and black creates an energetic tension between advancing and receding space.
1957-D-No. 1 is one of two paintings by Still that entered the museum’s collection in the late 1950s. Gordon M. Smith, then the museum’s director, and Seymour H. Knox, Jr., worked hard to win Still's trust and finally convinced him of their sincere interest in his work. After Smith invited Still to organize his own large-scale survey, the artist’s first, at the museum in 1959, Still donated thirty-one paintings to the Albright-Knox in 1964.
Label from Shade: Clyfford Still / Mark Bradford, May 26–October 2, 2016