Cy Twombly

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Cy Twombly


For over fifty years the American artist Cy Twombly (1928 - 2011) explored the natural world, literature, poetry, classical history and mythology through poetic, gestural painting and abstract sculptures. His lyrical use of letters and words as formal elements in abstract compositions blurred the relationship between calligraphy, drawing and painting and emphasised the action of mark-making.

Born in Lexington, Viriginia Twombly moved to Rome in 1957, and later to Gaeta south of the city, where he spent a large portion of his life. In the early 1950s he attended Black Mountain College in North Carolina where he met Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell and John Cage. In the late 50s he worked in New York where he met Jasper Johns and shared a studio with Robert Rauschenberg.

'Souvenir de l’Ile des Saintes' (1979), one of a small archipelago of islands in the French Antibes of Guadeloupe where a famous sea battle took place in 1782 between the French and the British, is the suite of eight works on paper in ARTIST ROOMS and represents the artist’s first experiments with watercolour. The vibrant colours found in the first sheet are transformed on subsequent pages into cloud-like washes, conveying memory as transient, sensual delight.

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