Cy Twombly

Cy Twombly was a seminal American artist who came of age immediately after the Abstract Expressionist generation. His large-scale iconic paintings consisted of scribbled loop marks smeared on canvas or raw linen. Twombly’s practice combined his interest in Roman and Greek mythological stories, including Leda and the swan, with frantic chalk scribbling on a blackboard. “My line is childish but not infantile. It’s very hard to fake,” he once explained. “To get that quality you need to project yourself along the lines of the child. You have to feel it.” Born Edwin Parker Twombly Jr. on April 25, 1928 in Lexington, VA, attended the Art Students League of New York, where he met Robert Rauschenberg. It was Rauschenberg who recommended that he enroll at Black Mountain College. While in college, Twombly studied with Franz Kline and Robert Motherwell, who introduced him to the work of Paul Klee. From 1960 onwards, the artist spent most of his time between Rome and the medieval port city of Gaeta, where he immersed himself in thoughts of the Mediterranean Sea and the ancient naval battles that had taken place there. He died on July 5, 2011 in Rome, Italy. In 2016, the Centre Georges Pompidou held a major exhibition on Twombly, which included a variety of 140 works ranging from sculptures and drawings to paintings and photographs. Today, the artist’s works can be found in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Courtauld Institute in London and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which in 1989 devoted an entire room to his suite of 10 paintings Fifty Days at Iliam (1978).