* 1928 Lexington
† 2011 Rom
The American artist Cy Twombly was born in Lexington, Virginia on April 25, 1928. He participates in drawing courses and lectures given by the Spanish artist Pierre Daura at the early age of 14, thus learning about European art. As of 1947 Twombly studies at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, followed by the Washington and Lee University in Lexington in 1949/50.
Cy Twombly goes to New York in 1950 and continues his studies at the Art Students League, where he gets to know Robert Rauschenberg. In 1951/52 Twombly attends the Black Mountain College in North Carolina, his teachers are Robert Motherwell and Franz Kline. Together with Rober Rauschenberg he travels to South America, Spain, North Africa and Italy on a scholarship in 1952. He returns to New York a year later and begins his teaching activities at the Southern Seminary and Junior College in Buena Vista, Virginia in 1955. Two years later he moves to Rome.
Twombly's early works, made around 1951, show the influence of Franz Kline, but are most of all an examination of Paul Klee's art. In a gestural expressive stroke of brush he sees the canvas as a projection screen for his own mental and physical presence. Like Jean Dubuffet, Cy Twombly mixes other materials into the paint, such as soil.
After having moved to Italy he combines these psychograms with mythological and literary references. This is shown by the work's titles, but also by words, codes and symbols that he swiftly scatters onto the image. His color palette brightens up in the Mediterranean light, the color application becomes more lively.
In the 1960s Cy Twombly makes the "Blackboard Images". He strings together simple forms or symbols in chalk on a green or gray ground.
In the mid 1970s he begins to collage papers into his pictures on canvas, he also mixes various materials such as oil, acrylic, watercolors and pastels to multi layer surface structures.
As of 1955 he also works on sculptures that he puts together from found objects and simple materials and paints them with Cementino, a white wall paint. Some are also cast in synthetic resin or bronze.
Cy Twombly's work is shown in numerous international exhibitions, for instance in 1979 in the Whitney Museum New York, in the Kunsthalle Baden-Baden in 1984, in the Kunsthaus Zürich in 1987 and in the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1994. The Cy Twombly Gallery is opened in Houston in 1995, which was designed by the architect Renzo Piano in co-operation with the artist.
Cy Twombly lived and worked in Rome and Gaeta, Italy, as well as in Lexington, USA. Cy Twombly died in Rome on 5 July.