Still was born November 30, 1904, in Grandin, North Dakota. He
attended Spokane University in Washington for a year in 1926 and
again from 1931 to 1933. After graduation, he taught at Washington
State College in Pullman until 1941. Still spent the summers of
1934 and 1935 at the Trask Foundation (now Yaddo) in Saratoga
Springs, New York. From 1941 to 1943, he worked in defense factories
in California. In 1943, his first solo show took place at the
San Francisco Museum of Art, and he met Mark Rothko in Berkeley
at this time. The same year, Still moved to Richmond, where he
taught at the Richmond Professional Institute.
was in New York in 1945, Rothko introduced him to Peggy Guggenheim,
who gave him a solo exhibition at her Art of This Century gallery
in early 1946. Later that year, the artist returned to San Francisco,
where he taught for the next four years at the California School
of Fine Arts. Solo exhibitions of his work were held at the Betty
Parsons Gallery, New York, in 1947, 1950, and 1951 and at the
California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, in 1947.
In New York in 1948, Still worked with Rothko and others on developing
the concept of the school that became known as the Subjects of
the Artist. He resettled in San Francisco for two years before
returning again to New York. A Still retrospective took place
at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York, in 1959.
In 1961, he settled on his farm near Westminster, Maryland.
of Still’s paintings were presented by the Institute of
Contemporary Art of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia
in 1963 and at the Marlborough-Gerson Gallery, New York, in 1969–70.
He received the Award of Merit for Painting in 1972 from the American
Academy of Arts and Letters, of which he became a member in 1978,
and the Skowhegan Medal for Painting in 1975. Also in 1975, a
permanent installation of a group of his works opened at the San
Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art,
New York, gave him an exhibition in 1980. Still died June 23 of
that same year in Baltimore.