Cy Twombly - Contemporary Art London Thursday, June 21, 2007 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Galleria Tartaruga, Rome; Private collection, Antwerp, Van de Weghe Fine Art,
    New York

  • Catalogue Essay

    The idea of Twombly as a pedagogue may sound unlikely at first. But on longer consideration the artist's role as teacher can be seen as part of his ivory tower position, a stance of highly selective accessibility that he has cultivated over the years. Since the late ' 50s younger artists have sought him out in Rome, including Jannis Kounellis in the late '50s, Alighiero e Boetti in the late '60s and Francesco Clemente in the '70s. Brice Marden, having worked for Rauschenberg in the '60s, was early drawn into the Twombly circle. In the early '80s, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Donald Baechler, James Brown, Julian Schnabel and Terry Winters all learned much from his art. Ross Bleckner's signature '80s image of chandeliers doubles back to Twombly's lost chandelier paintings of the early '50s, which Rauschenberg described in an interview with Barbara Rose. Both Philip Taaffe and Michele Zalopany followed Twombly's expatriate steps to Italy, where they became friends of the artist. In the '90s Suzanne McClelland and Pat Steir each defined her stance in relation to his work. Thus at least three generations of very different artists have studied at the ‘School of Twombly.’
    B. Adams, “Expatriate Dreams—Cy Twombly, Museum of Modern Art, New
    York, New York- Cover Story”, Art in America, February, 1995.

  • Artist Biography

    Cy Twombly

    American • 1928 - 2011

    Cy Twombly emerged in the mid-1950s alongside New York artists Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg. While at first developing a graffiti-like style influenced by Abstract Expressionist automatism–having notably studied under Franz Kline and Robert Motherwell at the legendary Black Mountain College between 1951 and 1952–Twombly was a prominent figure in the new generation of artists that challenged the abstract orthodoxy of the New York School. Twombly developed a highly unique pictorial language that found its purest expression upon his life-defining move to Rome in 1957. Simultaneously invoking classical history, poetry, mythology and his own contemporary lived experience, Twombly's visual idiom is distinguished by a remarkable vocabulary of signs and marks and the fusion of word and text. 

    Cy Twombly produced graffiti-like paintings that were inspired by the work of Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock and Robert Motherwell. His gestural forms of lines, drips and splattering were at first not well-received, but the artist later became known as the leader of the estrangement from the Abstract Expressionism movement. Full of energy and rawness, Twombly's pieces are reminiscent of childhood sketches and reveal his inspiration from mythology and poetry.

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Untitled (No. 53)

Oil pastel, graphite, ballpoint pen, and acrylic on paper.
19 1/2 x 27 1/4 in. (49.5 x 69.2 cm).
Signed and numbered “Cy Twombly No. 53” on the reverse.

£150,000 - 250,000 ‡ ♠

Sold for £311,200

Contemporary Art

22 June 2007, 4pm & 5pm