John Bernard Flannagan endured great hardship in his life. His father died when he was five, leaving his family in such poverty that Flannagan’s mother sent all of her sons to an orphanage. It was here that Flannagan began carving with a pocketknife.
Clyfford Still’s childhood was split between Spokane, Washington, and Alberta, Canada, where his family had a farm. He visited the Metropolitan Museum in New York in the 1920s to see the paintings he had “learned to love through . . . reproductions” (Demetrion, Clyfford Still, 2001).