Published on Wednesday, July 6th, 2011.
Cy Twombly (Virginia, USA 1928, Rome, Italy 2011) was famous for his enormous, writing based scrawl art works.
He passed away last night in Rome following quite a long period spent in a hospital.
Despite the fact that colleagues of the calibre of Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns got their artistic motivation through American magazines and banners, Twombly was, on the contrary, attracted by antique publications and customs. What he was mostly charmed by was the old Roman wall drawing and tribal art.
In fact he moved to Italy 50 years ago. The eccentric artist was born in 1928 in Virginia, United States, and his father played as a pitcher for the Chicago White Sox. That's where his first (nick)name comes from. To commence his artistic career, only aged 12 years old, Twombly started receiving a personal art course from Spanish artist Pierre Daura. He then followed a course at the Art Students League of New York, and before that he went for a university degree at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. During his first stay in New York, Twombly was highly influenced by his meeting with charismatic artist Robert Rauschenberg, who strongly persuaded Twombly to think about going to Black Mountain College in North Carolina. He did so, and found himself studying with fellow artists Robert Motherwell, Franz Kline and Ben Shahn. Twombly found his own path at the beginning of the fifties, as he received a scholarship which allowed him to wonder into travels and inspirations: he visited the northern part of Africa and he made different stops throughout Europe: in Spain, France and Italy, where he left his heart. His style has been greatly affected by this tour, so much so that Twombly spent the following five years working as an army cryptologist —there he applied himself in the deciphering of manuscripts to then make the final decision of enduringly moving to Italy.
He was 83 when he died on Tuesday July the 5th, 2011. The eminent artist fought against a tumour for a long time. The first announcement of his death was provided by a French press agency based on a statement given by Eric Mezil, director of Avignon’s Galerie Lambert, hosting the last great solo exhibition of the artist. Also Larry Gagosian, founder of the homonymous gallery and Twombly’s strongest representative, expressed his desolation for this great loss in the international artistic scene. Twombly was better known for his paintings, until lately, as Gagosian Gallery turned out to be a huge supporter of Twombly's sculptures. The gallery displayed two years ago in New York eight bronze sculptures all signed by the hand of Twombly. Rumour has it that Gagosian decided in 2007 to launch a subdivision of his gallery in Rome to a certain extent in order to gratify Twombly, who resided in the eternal city.
The artist kept on producing an enormous amount of art pieces, despite his aging and illness. Only last year, Twombly became the third contemporary artist to be able to mount a stable work in the Louvre. He painted the Salle des Bronzes ceiling and engraved it with the names of famous classical Greek artists.
At present, the Lambert collection in Avignon is characterised by a solo show made up of an assortment of photographs made by the artist, which Twombly himseld curated. The artistic horizon of London offers, instead, an exhibition ongoing at Dulwich Picture Gallery putting side by side Twombly's and 17th century French artist Nicholas Poussin’s oeuvre. Last May, auction house Christie’s sold an Untitled 1967 work by Twombly for the incredible amount of $15.2 million. He was vigorously cooperating on impending exhibitions devoted to his work up until a few months ago: Twombly was extensively thought of, together with Jasper Johns and Gerhard Richter, as a living legend. Subsequent to the completion of an artwork, "I usually have to go to bed for a couple of days," he stated during an exceptional interview.
curated by eleonora galasso