Tuesday, July 5, 2011

RIP: Cy Twombly

from Randy Kennedy and the New York Times

Ferragosto IV, 1961, Rome*
© Cy Twombly

Cy Twombly, Idiosyncratic Painter, Dies at 83

Cy Twombly, whose spare childlike scribbles and poetic engagement with antiquity left him stubbornly out of step with the movements of postwar American art even as he became one of the era’s most important painters, died in Rome Tuesday. He was 83.

The cause was not immediately known, although Mr. Twombly had suffered from cancer. His death was announced by the Gagosian Gallery, which represents his work.

In a career that slyly subverted Abstract Expressionism, toyed briefly with Minimalism, seemed barely to acknowledge Pop Art and anticipated some of the concerns of Conceptualism, Mr. Twombly was a divisive artist almost from the start. The curator Kirk Varnedoe, on the occasion of a 1994 retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, wrote that his work was “influential among artists, discomfiting to many critics and truculently difficult not just for a broad public, but for sophisticated initiates of postwar art as well.” The critic Robert Hughes called him “the Third Man, a shadowy figure, beside that vivid duumvirate of his friends Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg.”

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* All images, where subject to copyright, are used purely for illustrative purposes and on the assumption that their reproduction at a lower resolution than the originals satifies the requirements for fair use and neither competes nor conflicts with the copyright holder's use of the original material.  Cy Twombly is represented by Gagosian Gallery.

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