description of PH-233 [formerly Self-Portrait] by Clyfford Still

This six foot tall, three-and-a-half foot wide oil painting features an abstract skeletal shape against a flat black background. The skeletal form is tall and thin, with two long limbs that drip down like twisting, improbably skinny bones. It has a shape not unlike a wide tuning fork with the handle at our upper left, one prong curving toward the lower right, and the other running down the left edge of the canvas. The limb on the right drips down onto a golden yellow rectangle shape with a curved cut corner. There are two additional elements of color on the otherwise black-and-white canvas. Near the upper right is a cluster of tiny sparkling blue circles that appear to be rising up and off the canvas like carbonated bubbles. And at the upper left, a small red dagger shape hangs inside a bone-white figure-eight that tops the thin skeletal form.

Clyfford Still, PH-233 [formerly Self-Portrait], 1945
Clyfford Still, PH-233 [formerly Self-Portrait], 1945; oil on canvas, 70 7/8 in. x 42 in. (180.04 cm x 106.68 cm); Collection SFMOMA, Gift of Peggy Guggenheim; © City & County of Denver, Courtesy Clyfford Still Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Clyfford Still, PH-233 [formerly Self-Portrait], 1945

Artwork Info

Artwork title
PH-233 [formerly Self-Portrait]
Artist name
Clyfford Still
Date created
oil on canvas
70 7/8 in. x 42 in. (180.04 cm x 106.68 cm)
Date acquired
Collection SFMOMA
Gift of Peggy Guggenheim
© City & County of Denver, Courtesy Clyfford Still Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Permanent URL
Artwork status
Not on view at this time.

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