There’s an adage in the art history world: “Art is not created in a vacuum.” Culture, politics, and even other artists often inform and shape the works of creative minds. Fortunately for Denverites, Clyfford Still—the deeply independent, renowned abstract expressionist whose estate resides in the Golden Triangle’s Clyfford Still Museum (CSM)—maintained a veritable scrapbook of these influences throughout his life. He kept photos, painting tools, audiotapes, and thousands of letters exchanged with pen pals such as Jackson Pollock and Peggy Guggenheim. The CSM Research Center recently began sorting through the 40,000-some item collection with plans to exhibit the materials and make them available to scholars. “There’s a misunderstanding and underappreciation of Still, partly at his own hands,” says CSM director Dean Sobel. “So it’s important for people to see what his colleagues were saying about him; how artists such as Pollock were actually inspired by him.” And now you can. Early discoveries from the archive are on display (through June 15) in 1959: The Albright-Knox Art Gallery Exhibition Recreated and include the first-ever released recording of Still’s voice. Exclusive: Get a sneak peek into the Denver Art Museum’s Modern Masters exhibit, curated by Sobel in partnership with the CSM.

Bonus: Read more on Clyfford Still and his museum in “Clyfford Still’s Unyielding Will.”

—Image Courtesy of Still Museum Archives/Sandra Still