Posts tagged with “Cy Twombly”

Posted 1 year ago

Cy Twombly, (Untitled) Scenes from an ideal marriage

Oil stick, oil and watercolour on paper

(via artnet Galleries - Galerie Karsten Greve AG, St. Moritz)

Posted 1 year ago


Poems to the Sea by Cy Twombly I-IV 1959

“He visualises with loving colours the silent space that exists between and around words.”

      - John Berger

Posted 2 years ago

At the Gagosian (London) we went to look at Cy Twombly’s last paintings: “Camino Real”, a series of medium-sized canvases in green, red and yellow. I walked closer and closer to them, losing myself in the shock of colour; I wanted to walk into them.

The paintings are accompanied by a series of Twombly’s photographs, some 100 colour dry prints. Their soft and gentle tones contrasted greatly with the paintings’ bright, buzzing colours, but they were no less exciting for the senses. In these shots you could feel the warmth of late summer sunshine, wind rustling in the branches of pines, the sweet stench of decaying peonies, the dusty haze of memory. The relationship between these photographs and his whole painterly oeuvre is clear: colour, texture, structure speak to each other not merely as different versions of the same represented object, but as complementary forms of it - art for Twombly is a Protean transformation, a way to see things in constant metamorphosis.

Cy Twombly, Peonies (Polaroid)

Cy Twombly, Proteus (oil on canvas, 1984)

We started the morning at the Tate for their latest blockbuster exhibition of works by the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. There is something admirable and yet repulsive about pre-Raphaelite art: the excess of decoration, the overly-crafted search for beauty, the hefty opulence of illustration laden with dark, heavy colours makes the art of this period seem remote and unattractive to me.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

But the Aesthetic movement presupposes a rejection of meaning - in the famous dictum, a quest to create “art for art’s sake” - something that abstract art also strives for. The juxtaposition of the pre-Raphaelites’ excess with Twombly’s spare aesthetics within the same day gave me a small epiphany: when my eyes closed and I fell asleep I felt glad to be able to experience both, happy to live in this particular time, this present day.

Posted 3 years ago
The writer may use language to say things, but the painter can show language in its abstract nature as a generator of meaning. You can’t really read a painting, Twombly realized, so you have to see the language found in a painting on a different register. You have to see the language in a painting as language of painting, and not as letters and words. Even poetry, which can be the purest form of language operating for its own sake, cannot do that. Maybe that is why Twombly often gravitated to the letter “e.” “E” happens to be the most commonly used letter in the English alphabet, and in many other Indo-European languages as well. There were 14 “e”s, in fact, in the previous sentence. When Georges Perec, the great Oulipo writer, wanted to set himself the most difficult formal constraint within which to write a novel, he finally came up with the idea of writing a novel without the letter “e” — La Disparition, or in the equally amazing English translation, A Void. “E” is, in short, an important letter.

The Smart Set: Cy Twombly A Life of “E”s - July 8, 2011

"One can imagine that for Twombly there was something satisfying about writing “e”s on a painting canvas. He wouldn’t just write them; he would scratch and scrawl. He would write his “e”s and other letters as a primal act and as a childlike act. The scratch of letter was a gesture of meaning that didn’t need anything else. This was painting doing language and when painting does language you don’t get a book — you get the essence of the act stripped bare. Sometimes Twombly would just loop a drawn line around and around as if he was writing something but no distinct letters or words ever emerged. A number of Twombly’s "gray paintings" from the late ’60s and early ’70s were like this. It is said that he would produce them by sitting on the shoulders of a friend and loop lines with his chalk while the friend wandered around in front of the canvas. What wonderful days those must have been. The loops must have felt big and airy, free and significant at the same time, the friend wandering around beneath, the light coming in through the window on a summer afternoon."

Posted 3 years ago
It is actually impossible to argue with someone who refuses to experience the power of abstract art, because to feel it you have to let yourself go a bit.

Are we a nation of abstract art snobs? | Art and design |

Jonathan Jones on the British inability to enjoy and understand abstract art. My best friend would call that “emotional constipation”. 

Posted 3 years ago


Danville Tobacconists, 1923

Cy Twombly, the father of the late great artist of the same name, is the player at the far right of the bottom row. The senior Twombly’s major league career consisted of seven games pitched for the 1921 Chicago White Sox.

Posted 3 years ago

Cy Twombly
Fifty Days at Iliam: The Fire that Consumes All Before it
oil, crayon, graphite on canvas, 1978 


Posted 3 years ago

Ah, it goes, is lostCy Twombly (1928-2011)

[W]hen you recite the art-historical contexts and the nuggets of suggestive biography, Twombly remains an enigma. In the army in the 1950s he worked on cryptography, later saying he was too “vague” to be much good at it. Perhaps that is a warning against becoming too analytical and exegetical about his work. Twombly’s paintings are florid, romantic and ornately overstated; they are baroque, decadent concoctions; they are the paintings Edgar Allan Poe’s Roderick Usher might have done; they are sensuous flowers of the south; they are seriously unedifying, poisonous vintages. They are letters to history from the heart of a corrupt empire.
Posted 3 years ago

Cy Twombly Untitled, 1970

Or: an accurate depiction of the current state of my brain, as I do rewrites in Chapter Two of my PhD thesis.

Posted 3 years ago

Cy Twombly, Untitled (2001) - The Natural World exhibition series at The Art Institute of Chicago