Cy Twombly

Cy Twombly
Born:
April 25, 1928
Birthplace:
Lexington, Virginia, United States
Died:
July 5, 2011

About Cy Twombly

Cy Twombly moved from New York to Italy in 1958 and lived and worked there for decades. The Mediterranean landscape, both the physical and the literary environments, was fertile ground for Twombly’s six-decade-long meditation on gesture, image, symbol, and beauty. Twombly began his art career in New York and though influenced by abstract expressionism, he quickly sought techniques of painting beyond the compositional restrictions of cubism and the existential posturings of New York painting at that time.
 
In 1952, Twombly and Robert Rauschenberg took a six-month journey to Italy and North Africa. During the seminal trip, Twombly absorbed Mediterranean culture as well as made compositional breakthroughs in his North African sketchbooks. The paintings made on his return to New York feature graffiti-like constellations of images and marks that combine and recombine across a surface that never locks into a compositional stasis. Twombly literally carved into wet surfaces of paint with palette knife and pencil, aggressively vandalizing and reconfiguring the meaning of painting.
 
When Twombly left for Rome, color and interactions with myth and ancient texts entered into his work. Ilium (One Morning Ten Years Later) [Part I], 1964, is one panel of a triptych. The piece loosely records the aftermath of the battle of Troy and bears many of Twombly’s stylistic hallmarks—light washy color recalling the light of the Italian countryside and the symbolic equivalency of the written word and the drawn object, full of both directional visual impulse and movement and connotations of meaning.
 
Nini’s Painting [Rome], 1971, is part of a series of monumental works completed by Twombly in the early 1970s that, according to some critics, were inspired by both a trip to a Jackson Pollock retrospective and the themes of repetition emerging in minimalist art. Nini’s Painting [Rome] is a personal title—it is a tribute to Twombly’s friend Nini Pirandello, relative of the playwright Luigi Pirandello. The nine-foot canvas features a repetitive scrawl that maps the surface of the work as well as sets it into motion. The work recalls the gesture and all-over composition of a Pollock, though instead of uniting into a complex field or image, Nini’s Painting [Rome] reads as a record of Twombly’s rhythmic markings.   

By Cy Twombly in the Collection

Cy Twombly
1980, cast in 2011
bronze
46 x 19 1/8 x 19 1/8 in. (116.84 x 48.58 x 48.9 cm)
Cy Twombly
1988
bronze and oil-based paint
12 1/8 x 22 7/8 x 19 5/8 in. (30.8 x 58.1 x 49.85 cm)
On View
Cy Twombly
2010
acrylic on wood panel
99 3/8 x 73 3/4 in. (252.41 x 187.33 cm)
Cy Twombly
1964
oil paint, lead pencil and wax crayon on canvas
78 3/4 x 82 3/4 in. (200.03 x 210.19 cm)
On View
Cy Twombly
1953
oil-based house paint and graphite on paper
19 1/2 x 27 1/4 in. (49.53 x 69.22 cm)
Cy Twombly
2009
acrylic on canvas
105 1/4 x 83 1/2 x 1 3/8 in. (267.34 x 212.09 x 3.49 cm)
On View
Cy Twombly
1999
bronze
70 x 16 x 10 5/8 in. (177.8 x 40.6 x 27 cm)
Cy Twombly
1971
oil based house paint, wax crayon, and lead pencil on canvas
102 3/4 x 118 1/4 in. (260.99 x 300.36 cm)
On View
Cy Twombly
2008
acrylic on wood panel
99 1/4 x 291 1/4 in. (252.1 x 739.78 cm)
On View
Cy Twombly
1973
mixed media on paper
35 x 30 in. (88.9 x 76.2 cm)
Cy Twombly
1989
bronze, painted with white oil-based paint
15 3/8 x 9 7/8 x 4 in. (39.05 x 25.08 x 10.16 cm)
Cy Twombly
2006
bronze
44 x 24 x 14 in. (111.8 x 61 x 35.6 cm)
Cy Twombly
2009
bronze
49 3/16 x 12 3/16 x 11 11/16 in. (124.9 x 31 x 29.7 cm)
Cy Twombly
2002
bronze
28 3/4 x 19 5/16 x 19 5/16 in. (73.025 x 49.054 x 49.054 cm)
Cy Twombly
1987
bronze
76 1/4 x 12 1/4 x 31 in. (193.68 x 31.12 x 78.74 cm)
Cy Twombly
2000 - 2009
bronze
41 1/8 x 20 7/8 x 21 5/16 in. (104.46 x 53.02 x 54.13 cm)
On View
Cy Twombly
1969
oil based house paint, wax crayon, lead pencil and colored pencil on canvas
78 1/4 x 98 1/2 in. (198.76 x 250.19 cm)
On View
Cy Twombly
2007
acrylic, wax crayon, lead pencil on wooden panel
99 1/4 x 217 3/8 in. (252.1 x 552.13 cm)
Cy Twombly
2003
acrylic on canvas
85 x 105 in. (215.9 x 266.7 cm)
Cy Twombly
1972
oil paint, wax crayon and lead pencil on canvas
78 3/4 x 102 3/8 in. (200.03 x 260.03 cm)
Cy Twombly
1955
oil based house paint and lead pencil on canvas
43 1/4 x 50 3/4 in. (109.86 x 128.91 cm)
Cy Twombly
1953
oil based house paint and wax crayon on canvas
52 x 52 in. (132.08 x 132.08 cm)
On View
Cy Twombly
1961
oil paint, wax crayon and lead pencil on canvas
51 1/4 x 59 1/4 in. (130.18 x 150.5 cm)
On View