Cy Twombly

No. X


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Cy Twombly 1928–2011
Lithograph and mixed media on paper
Support: 758 × 558 mm
Purchased 1981

Display caption

The title Natural History was adopted by Twombly from an early scientific encyclopedia by the Roman Pliny the Elder. Natural History Part I (Mushrooms) was the first of two portfolios; the other was subtitled Some Trees of Italy. Twombly used a quasi-scientific presentation of different lithographic images, combining them with collaged sheets of paper and photographs. These are enhanced with drawings in the artist’s characteristic expressive graphic language.

Gallery label, May 2008

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Technique and condition

A portfolio of ten prints printed on Rives Couronne Paper (except for III on Richard de Bas paper) in pristine condition. The prints are mixed media technique of colour lithography, grano lithography, collotype and photochrome with collage and drawing by the artist. The portfolio is from an edition of 98 with 17 artist’s proofs and 1 printer’s proof has been printed at the Mattieu Studio in Zurich in the summer of 1974. Each print is signed and numbered by the artist and embossed with the printer’s sign. The ten prints in each portfolio are marked with an embossed number from I-X.

Katharine Lockett
March 2003

Catalogue entry

P07582 [from] NATURAL HISTORY PART I (MUSHROOMS) 1974 [P07573-P07582; complete]

All inscribed ‘CT’ bottom right and ‘77/98’
Ten lithographs with collage, printed at Matthieu Studio, Zurich, published by Propyläen Verlag, Berlin, each 29 7/8×22 (75.8×55.8)
Purchased from Schellman & Klüser (Grant-in-Aid) 1981

This is one of two portfolios made in the mid 1970s, the other being ‘Natural History Part II (Some Trees of Italy)’ 1976. Twombly uses a quasi-scientific presentation with his characteristic expressive, gestural graphic language; the prints contain a variety of different lithographic printings with collaged sheets of paper and photographs.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1980-82: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1984

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