Cy Twombly

Cy Twombly ( born Edwin Parker Twombly Jr., born April 25, 1928 in Lexington, Virginia; † July 5, 2011 in Rome, Italy) was an American painter, photographer and object artist, and one of the most important representatives of Abstract Expressionism.


Cy Twombly was born the son of Edwin Parker Twombly from Bar Harbor, Maine, and his wife Mary Wilma Richardson from Groveland, Massachusetts on April 25, 1928 in Lexington. The father worked as swimming pools and golf instructor at Washington and Lee University in Lexington; it was during his time as a professional baseball player, " Cy " (like Cyclone, Cyclone dt ) - after Cy Young - named after him and his son. From 1942 to 1946, Twombly, Jr. took part in painting classes and lectures that coming from Spain artist Pierre Daura. After graduating Twombly attended classes at the Darlington School in Rome, Georgia. The end of 1949 he began studying at the Boston Museum School in Boston. His interests that time be determined " by German Expressionism, the Dada movement, the works of Schwitters and Soutine [ ... ] "

1949 Twombly returned to Lexington and began his parents' wishes to study at the local Washington and Lee University and received 1950-1951 a scholarship to the Art Students League in New York with the teachers Will Barnet, Morris Kantor and Vaclav Vytlacil. At the invitation of fellow artist Robert Rauschenberg, Twombly had the hit during the second semester at the Art Students League, he took part in a painting course at the painters Robert Motherwell and Ben Shahn at Black Mountain College in North Carolina for a semester.

Together with Robert Rauschenberg in 1952 he traveled to the south of the USA. About Charleston, New Orleans to Key West, the trip went to Cuba. In late summer, he attended the Black Mountain College, where he met Franz Kline, Jack Tworkov and John Cage, who just taught there and took a course in photography. A travel grant from the Richmond Museum of Fine Arts in Virginia allowed him to travel to Europe and North Africa, where he the countries of France, Spain, Italy and Morocco, where he met Robert Rauschenberg visited in Casablanca. With Rauschenberg, he traveled to Marrakech and from there through the Atlas Mountains, Tangier to Tetouan, where he met the American writer Paul Bowles. In February 1953, both artists went through Madrid and Barcelona to Rome.

Twombly, who returned to America in May 1953 set up a studio with Rauschenberg announced on Fulton Street in New York, where in the autumn of the same year held a joint exhibition at the Stable Gallery. In the fall of 1953 Twombly was for military service at Camp Gordon, near Augusta, Georgia, and later retracted until August 1954, in Washington, DC stationed.

Early 1955 took Twombly for the period of one year teaching position at Southern Seminary and Junior College in Buena Vista, Virginia, on. In the spring of 1957, after another exhibition at the Stable Gallery, the artist continuously shifted his residence to Rome, but hired initially for the months of July and August a house on Procida and worked on drawings which he later destroyed. On Procida he read the poems by Stéphane Mallarmé, which should affect his future work.

Twombly married on 20 April 1959 in New York Tatiana Franchetti. He rented a studio in Lexington, Virginia, where a series of ten large paintings arose that were intended for an exhibition at the Leo Castelli Gallery, but were never shown. He and his wife traveled to Cuba and Mexico. In Rome in December their son, Cyrus Alessandro was born. The following year the family moved into an apartment in Via Monserrato.

In the following years he toured the Mediterranean, painted in July 1960, Ischia and traveled in August to Greece and St. Cristina, a small town in Val Gardena, where he spent the autumn in the Franchetti family, Castel Gardena house. In October of the same year, the first exhibition was held in the Twombly Leo Castelli Gallery. In 1961, he rented a studio in Piazza del Biscione in Rome, near the Campo dei Fiori, the rooms of which he used until 1966.

The June and July 1961 he spent in the Cyclades, August Mykonos; from this point should determine its imagery mythological themes, such as the cycle of drawings Delian Odes. In January and February 1962, Twombly traveled to Egypt and the Sudan. With a Nile cruiser, he traveled to Wadi Halfa. From the autumn of 1964, he worked briefly in Munich with images that were issued in November of the same year at the Galerie Friedrich Dahlem under the title The Artist in the Northern Climate together with the drawings Notes from a tower. From 1967 to 1976 he stayed in New York, on Long Iceland, with Rauschenberg in Captiva Iceland in Florida, Zurich and Naples. In New York and Florida caused large-scale collagen and lithographs. In 1982 he was represented at the group exhibition Zeitgeist.

Twombly lived and worked most recently in Gaeta, south of Rome. In 1987 he was awarded the Rubens Prize of the City of Siegen, 1995 he received the Goslar Kaiser Ring. Most recently, he was honored in 2008 with the Gerhard- old Bourg- price.


Cy Twombly is one next to Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell, Helen Frankenthaler, Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock, the most famous representatives of the American Abstract Expressionism. His paintings combine the traits of abstract painting with lettering like drawings to a very fine web-like basic characteristic style. Despite or because of the restrained expression and the filigree technique his large-format paintings seem monumental.

Twombly's painting is reminiscent of doodles on pub tables, walls of buildings, or urinals and thus provokes associations with later visual language of graffiti. In his black paintings he quoted, with chalk techniques and emulsion paints on a dark background, peppy, partly blurred Krakeleien as on chalkboards.

According to his Mediterranean and North Africa Travel, Twombly turned increasingly to mythological themes; preferred he picked up inspiration from the Greek legend. Here, he used mostly white primed canvases or papers, which he decorated in mixed media acrylic painting, pencil drawing and oil painting in combination with collage techniques ( notes, scraps of cloth, etc.) and seemingly random elements: Cryptic word fragments and ciphers which he painted over and over again. One of his collectors, the publisher and gallery owner Lothar Schirmer reported to have said as an anecdote: "When one has a Twombly, one can never be sure if he did not suddenly once more comes over after twenty years to paint over the image. " Often he expanded his pictorial compositions on diptychs or triptychs oversized with sometimes unusual image formats.

In the 1960s, Twombly reached into his paintings increasingly on historical topoi, such as in his major works, The Age of Alexander ( 1959-1960 ), Triumph of Galatea / Triumph of Galatea (1961 ), Leda and the Swan / Leda and the Swan ( 1961) or in his later work, the 12-part cycle of Lepanto ( 2001) ( see also the web link ). Most of Twombly's works are untitled, however, or at least provided with a caption.

In July 2007, a 30 -year-old Cambodian woman kissed the 2 million euro expensive painting " Phaedrus " at an exhibition in Avignon, France, leaving a non-removable lipstick stain. The French Court of Appeal sentenced the woman in June 2009 to 18,400 euro restoration costs and 500 Euro costs.

In 2010, a building designed by Twombly 400 m² ceiling painting was completed in the hall of ancient bronzes in the Louvre in Paris.

In the Vienna State Opera during the season 2010/2011 Twombly's work "Bacchus", as part of the museum designed in progress exhibition series " Iron Curtain ", as huge large image (170 m² ) are shown.

On the international art market up to 15 million U.S. dollars were paid for Twombly's works.

Sculptures and photographs

Twombly preferably used crude and rudimentary finds for his three-dimensional works. In the sculpture, for example, wagon wheels or simple pieces of wood appear. Less well known is the sculptor and photographer Twombly. Its made ​​from found objects, cast bronze or wood sculptures and figurines, which he painted with white paint, emit a pure meditative power. In his late work, there are also numerous photographic works, mostly floral motifs.

The work of Cy Twombly were devoted numerous solo exhibitions and retrospectives internationally. He was represented at the Venice Biennale and Documenta Kassel. His works can be found worldwide; as the Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum or at the Centre Georges Pompidou.

The Italian architect Renzo Piano designed for the Menil Collection in Houston, Texas, a museum, which houses about 30 works by Twombly and was coordinated in collaboration with the artist specifically on the images.

Twombly is also dedicated to the entire top floor of the Museum Brandhorst in Munich. The museum showed 2011 entitled Cy Twombly. Photographs 1951-2010 120 photographs from 60 years of creation of the artist. This exhibition was the same year in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Siegen.