Cy Twombly

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Cy Twombly
Birth name Edwin Parker (Cy) Twombly Jr.
Born April 25, 1928 (1928-04-25) (age 80)
Nationality American
Field Calligraphy, Painting
Training School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.
Art Students League of New York.
Black Mountain College

Edwin Parker (Cy) Twombly Jr. (born April 25, 1928) is an American artist well known for his large-scale, freely scribbled, calligraphic-style graffiti paintings, on solid fields of mostly gray, tan, or off-white colors. He exhibits his paintings worldwide, and now has an exhibition in London.

Twombly is best known for blurring the line between drawing and painting. Many of his best-known paintings of the late 1960s are reminiscent of a school blackboard on which someone has practiced cursive es—or (for his paintings of the late 1950s and early 1960s), perhaps, hundreds of years of bathroom graffiti. Twombly had at this point discarded painting figurative, representational subject-matter, citing the line or smudge—each mark with its own history—as its proper subject.

Later, many of his paintings and works on paper moved into "romantic symbolism", and their titles can be interpreted visually through shapes and forms and words. Twombly often quoted the poet Stéphane Mallarmé, as well as many classical myths and allegories in his works. Examples of this are his Apollo and The Artist and a series of eight drawings consisting solely of inscriptions of the word "VIRGIL".

Twombly lives in Lexington, Virginia and Italy.


[edit] Biography

Twombly's father, also nicknamed "Cy" after the baseball great Cy Young, pitched for the Chicago White Sox.

Twombly studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. From 1950 to 1951, he studied at the Art Students League of New York, where he met Robert Rauschenberg, who encouraged him to attend Black Mountain College near Asheville, North Carolina. At Black Mountain in 1951 and 1952 he studied with Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell and Ben Shahn, and met John Cage.

The Kootz Gallery in New York organized Twombly's first solo exhibition in 1951. At this time his work was influenced by Kline's black-and-white gestural expressionism, as well as Paul Klee's imagery. In 1952, Twombly received a grant from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, which enabled him to travel to North Africa, Spain, Italy, and France.

Upon his return in 1953, Twombly served in the army as a cryptologist, an activity that left a distinct mark on his artistic style. From 1955 to 1959, he worked in New York, where he became a prominent figure among a group of artists including Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. In 1959, Twombly went to Italy, settling permanently in Rome. It was during this period that he began to create his first abstract sculptures, which, although varied in shape and material, were always coated with white paint, which he later called his 'marble'. In Italy, he began to work on a larger scale and distanced himself from his former expressionist imagery.

Cy Twombly, The Four Seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter, 1993-94, Synthetic polymer paint, oil, house paint, pencil and crayon on four canvases; left to right: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, approximately: 123 1/2 x 74 3/4 inches (313.7 x 189.9 cm) each, Museum of Modern Art New York City

Twombly was invited to exhibit his work at the Venice Biennale in 1964. In 1968, the Milwaukee Art Museum mounted the first retrospective of his art. The artist has also been honored by retrospectives at the Kunsthaus Zürich in 1987, the Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris, in 1988, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1994, with additional venues in Houston, Texas, Los Angeles, and Berlin. The Cy Twombly Gallery of the Menil Collection in Houston, which was designed by Renzo Piano and opened in 1995, houses more than thirty of Twombly's paintings, sculptures, and works on paper, dating from 1953 to 1994. A large collection of Twombly's work is also kept by the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich.

A recent (1998-1999) Twombly work, Three Studies from the Temeraire, a triptych, was purchased by the Art Gallery of New South Wales for $4.5 million AUD in 2004.

[edit] Phaedrus incident

In 2007, an exhibition of Twombly's last paintings, Blooming, a Scattering of Blossoms and Other Things, and other works on paper from gallerist Yvon Lambert's collection was displayed from June to September in Avignon (France), at the Lambert Foundation (Hôtel de Caumont). On July 19, 2007, police arrested artist Rindy Sam after she kissed one panel of Twombly's triptych Phaedrus. The panel, an all-white canvas, was smudged by Sam's red lipstick. She is to be tried in a court in Avignon in October for "voluntary degradation of a work of art".

Sam defended her gesture to the court: "J'ai fait juste un bisou. C'est un geste d'amour, quand je l'ai embrassé, je n'ai pas réfléchi, je pensais que l'artiste, il aurait compris... Ce geste était un acte artistique provoqué par le pouvoir de l'art" ("It was just a kiss, a loving gesture. I kissed it without thinking; I thought the artist would understand.... It was an artistic act provoked by the power of Art").

The prosecution, calling it "A sort of cannibalism, or parasitism", while admitting that Sam is "visibly not conscious of what she has done", asked that she be fined 4500€, compelled to an assorted penalty, and to attend citizenship classes. The art work, which is worth an estimated $2 million, was on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Avignon.[1][2][3] In November 2007 Sam was convicted and ordered to pay 1,000€ to the painting's owner, 500€ to the Avignon gallery that showed it, and 1€ to the painter.[4]

[edit] Tate exhibit

Cy Twombly's work was on exhibit at the Tate Modern, in London, from June 19-September 14, 2008. Text for that read:

This is his first solo retrospective in fifteen years, and provides an overview of his work from the 1950s to now.... At the heart of the exhibition is Twombly’s work exploring the cycles associated with seasons, nature and the passing of time. Several key groups are brought together for the first time, such as Tate’s Four Seasons 1993–94 with those from the Museum of Modern Art, New York. The exhibition also explores how Twombly is influenced by antiquity, myth and the Mediterranean, for example the violent red swirls in the Bacchus 2005 paintings which bring to mind the drunken god of wine. The exhibition provides a unique opportunity to see the full range of Twombly’s long and influential career from a fresh perspective.[5]

[edit] Sources

Cy Twombly: Cycles and Seasons. Edited by Nicholas Serota. London: Tate Publishing and Distributed Art Publishers, 2008.

[edit] References

[edit] External links

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