About 10 years ago I did an about-face and fell in love with contemporay art. And one the greatest artists in this category, in my opinion, is Cy Twombly. His work takes on various forms: abstract, to minimalism, to pop; child-like scribbles, to smears, to orbital shapes.
With his passing in Rome today at age 83, it is only fitting today to celebrate his utterly unique life and impressive body of work.
Born in Lexington, Va. in 1928 and nicknamed, like his father, after the baseball player Cy Young, he received his higher education from several schools East Coast art schools. Throughout his life he was described as "idiosyncratic" which to me often means having a strong sense of self and resisting exterior influences.
Could his work as a cryptologist, deciphering hidden messages, in the U.S, military in the early 1950s been a source of inspiration to his art, which was often compared to calligraphy and graffiti?
He once stated that he practiced drawing in the dark to make his lines less purposeful. Many look at his work and think dismissively , "I could do that", but I dare any of us to try!
Before moving to Italy in 1957 (again going against the grain at a time when European artists were moving to the US), he shared a New York studio with Robert Rauschenberg (with whom he had a relationship) and Jasper Johns. The three were part of a new movement yet Twombly was relegated to a "shadow" position, hovering behind his two contemporaties. Despite the lack of love from many critics, the sale of his 1967 work "Untitled" at Christie's last year for $15.2M proved that the public thinks differently.
Ditto for the powers that be at the Louvre. He is the only contemporary artist invited to paint the ceiling (of the Salle des Bronzes), an honor he received last year.
Here are a few more of his works to enjoy:
I recall my Cy Twombly fandom increasing when I started to see his works enlivening many lovely home interiors - proof that his paintings are suited equally against a museum wall or in a modern or traditional home:
Photos: 1 - Dan Kitwood / Getty Images; 2 - Michael Stravato for The New York Times; 3 - David Lees/Time & Life Images/Getty Images; 7 - Francois Gillot/AFP /Getty Images; 9 & 10 - EscapeToNewYork; 15 - William Waldron/Elle Decor; 16 - Joshua McHugh/Elle Decor; 17 - Fernando Bengoechea/Elle Decor; 18 - Joshua McHugh/Elle Decor; 19 - Pieter Etersohn/Elle Decor; 20 - Grey Crawford/Elle Decor; 21-Thomas Loof/House Beautiful;