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Cy Twombly, Bomarzo, 1963

Cy Twombly (1928 - 2011) was one of the foremost representatives of the international avant-garde since the rise of Abstract Expressionism in New York.
In 1951, he began his training at the Art Students' League in New York, where he came into contact with Robert Rauschenberg, who accompanied him during his studies at Black Mountain College, North Carolina. In 1952 and 1953 he travelled to North Africa and Europe for the first time, spending time in Italy, where he would eventually emigrate. Here Cy Twombly broadened his artistic horizons and laid the foundation for his distinctive artistic language, which he then developed into an unmistakable style. His journeys to the major Italian art centres with their overwhelming cultural past spurred him to an intense exploration of mythological and historical subjects that he treated in his subtle idiomatic approach, combining several techniques.
In his large-format works on canvas as well as his works on paper, Twombly typically made use of a variety of media: pencil, oil crayons, oil, and wall paint form an aesthetic and often tactile bond with the paper support. Especially in his works on paper, the frequently described graphical character of his work has a particularly spontaneous, calligraphic and yet incredibly concentrated effect. Circles, loops and scribbles executed in patient repetition of a gesture placed next to impasto traces of paint and scraped streaks in delicate hues suddenly reveal letters and words, but without divulging their meaning. Sign and signifier are not clearly assigned in Twombly’s work. Only an in-depth examination of his oeuvre reveals an as-yet undeciphered system of signs or repertoire that repeatedly evokes Mediterranean culture, myths, literature, and history through spontaneous gestures and minimalistic notations. Twombly approaches his subjects with great respect, seeking them out and encircling them, and his ability to link poetry and painting perhaps surpasses that of any other visual artist. Cy Twombly died 2011 in Rome.

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