Cy Twombly

1928–2011

Cy Twombly, ‘Quattro Stagioni: Autunno’ 1993–5
Quattro Stagioni: Autunno 1993–5
© Cy Twombly Foundation
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Biography

Edwin Parker "Cy" Twombly Jr. (; April 25, 1928 – July 5, 2011) was an American painter, sculptor and photographer. He belonged to the generation of Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns.

Twombly's paintings are predominantly large-scale, freely-scribbled, calligraphic and graffiti-like works on solid fields of mostly gray, tan, or off-white colors. His later paintings and works on paper shifted toward "romantic symbolism", and their titles can be interpreted visually through shapes and forms and words. Twombly often quoted poets such as Stéphane Mallarmé, Rainer Maria Rilke and John Keats, as well as 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 is said to have influenced younger artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Anselm Kiefer, Francesco Clemente, and Julian Schnabel. His works are in the permanent collections of modern art museums globally, including the Menil Collection in Houston, the Tate Modern in London and the New York's Museum of Modern Art. He was commissioned for the ceiling at the Musée du Louvre in Paris.

In a 1994 retrospective, curator Kirk Varnedoe described Twombly's work as "influential among artists, discomfiting to many critics and truculently difficult not just for a broad public, but for sophisticated initiates of postwar art as well."

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