Cy Twombly

Submitted by on Sep 26, 2015

Cy Twombly.

Praemium Imperiale (1996). Commander of the Order of the Legion of Honour (2010).


  • Education
  • Biography
  • Creation
  • Personal exhibitions
  • Public collections
  • Recognition
  • Notes
  • References
  • Links


  • School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (1947-49)
  • Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia
  • Art Students League, New York (1950-51)
  • Black Mountain College, North Carolina (1951-52)

Cy Twombly was born April 25th, 1928 in Lexington, Virginia. From 1948 to 1951 he studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Washington and Lee University, Lexington; Art Students League, New York, where he met Robert Rauschenberg. With the submission of Rauschenberg, Twombly attended Black Mountain College, near Asheville, North Carolina, in 1951 and 1952, where he studied with Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell, Ben Hashanah.

The first solo exhibition was held in 1951 Twombly in Kootz Gallery, New York. Then he felt the influence of the works of black and white expressionist works of Klein, as well as children’s imagery of Paul Klee. In 1952, Twombly received a grant from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, which allowed him to visit North Africa, Spain, Italy and France. After his return, in 1953, he served in the Army as a cryptographer. From 1955 to 1959 Twombly worked in New York and Italy, finally settling in Rome. In 1959 he married the Italian artist Tate Franchetti. During this period, he began to create abstract sculptures, which, ranging in materials and size, have always been covered with white paint. In Italy, Twombly began working in large format and distanced himself from the formal expressionistic scrawl by going to a more literal use of text and numbers, drawing inspiration from poetry, mythology and history. Subsequently, I create a dictionary of different characters, sometimes with sexual overtones, which are read on a metaphorical level, rather than in accordance with any form of traditional iconography.

Twombly was invited to exhibit his work at the Venice Biennale in 1964. In 1968, Milwaukee Art Center hosted the first retrospective of his work. In 1995, in Houston Cy Twombly Gallery opened in which the artist displays works created since 1954.

Cy Twombly is the third in the history of contemporary artist, whose work is exhibited in the Louvre on a regular basis.

He died of cancer.


The originality lies in the manner of Twombly chaotic applied to the canvas signs, lines and scratches. Cy Twombly painting beginning of 1960 consists of white canvas on which he wrote, pastel, pencil and paint. Like Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, Twombly has used the free style of abstract expressionism, but without the heroic claims and universal purposes. Twombly (and his colleagues) used the iconography of everyday life (such as letters and numbers) includes Point of interest in the work, using such techniques as the hackneyed cliche. In 1957, Twombly settled in Rome. Some of the main elements of the mature works include inscriptions in the spirit of graffiti attention to the properties of the material. Twombly works are filled with references to the Mediterranean environment and the neo-classical tradition; He often refers to the mythological themes and paintings by old masters, by the titles of works and words or phrases on the surface of the canvas.

Personal exhibitions

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