... but I stopped. Now I'm a dad, and may blog again...

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

339: Goodby, Cy Twombly RIP

Cy Twombly, Poems to the Sea, 1959 (suite of 24)
Oil, graphite and wax crayon on paper,

After an unscheduled sleep, in front of an unscheduled showing of Coraline on DVD, I awake to the sad news that Cy Twombly has passed. He was the greatest of the great 20th Century American painters. Barely known outside the art world (unlike the mammoth fame that perverted and destroyed Warhol and Pollock) but so highly loved and respected within. He has been my favourite painter since his unusual name caught my eye in 2004, and the university library yielded a gorgeous glossy Twombly book.

He left America many years ago to live a peaceful painterly life in Italy, where he continued making beautiful abstract scribbles, like carpenter's pencilled notes on a paint-stained scrap of gigantic paper. As far as I can see he lived a dream life of relaxed medium success ; not scraping by and not distracted by fame. He lived to the ripe old age of 83, and died on July 5th 2011 leaving behind paintings, friends and family. He will be missed.
Cy Twombly, Pan 1975 (private collection)

One of my prized possessions is the Cy Twombly book Cycles and Seasons (currently asking obscene prices on Amazon) which features images of many beautiful paintings and curious sculptures of found wood and wire and white house-paint. Here I have scanned some favourite images I have not seen elsewhere online ; and do so in tribute to the great artist, may he rest in peace.

Cy Twombly Cycles and Seasons book cover, featuring
Quattro Stagioni, 1993-5, Part III: Autunno (detail)

I wonder what he was working on when he died ; what wonderful incomplete or recently completed works of art. What will happen to the value of his work, and when there will next be a retrospective in Great Britain I can attend. I'll stop talking now as I have little to say, and have spent too much time saying it. I'll let the paint dabs and pencil lines speak for themselves, about themselves.

For a proper, knowledgeable and wonderful obituary please go to The Guardian's Cy Twombly obituary "American artist who drew on the high culture of the past to forge a distinctive, at times thrilling, body of work".

Cy Twombly, Untitled (A Painting in Two Parts), 1986
Part I: oil paint on canvas
Part II: acrylic on paper
Cy Twombly, Orpheus (Du Unendliche Spur), 1979
Wood, nails, white paint, pencil

No comments: