- Cy Twombly
- Untitled (The Mathematical Dream of Ashurbanipal)
- initialed CT, numbered 2/3 and inscribed Gerbrüder Jäger, Pfäffikon SZ
- Sculpture: 41 1/2 x 20 7/8 x 20 7/8 inches
Base: 32 1/2 x 2/ 3/4 x 28 3/4 inches
Acquired by the present owner from the above
Cy Twombly’s breathtakingly serene sculpture Untitled (The Mathematical Dream of Ashurbanipal) was cast in early 2009 from an assemblage comprised of wood, nails, staples, plastic, paper, plaster, white paint and fiber pen. He had photographed this form ten years earlier in dramatic sepia chiaroscuro, a stark account of the effusive outpouring of semi-liquid plaster seeming almost to overburden the underlying architectonic structure. Twombly first made casts in resin in 1977, and occasionally began to cast in bronze from 1979 and used plaster as a sculptural medium from the 1980s: in the present example we are confronted with all the subtleties of transition from the eclectic assemblage to the final bronze cast. As Kate Nesin has insightfully detailed, “any cast is invested with a backward-facing temporality, the melancholy of the indexical. The earliest known decorative bronzes are from ancient burial sites in Iran’s Zagros Mountains, and the antiquity of this reproductive mode appeals to Twombly. His bronzes often look dug from the earth (though whitened or tawny, rather than green)… grave, confidentially monumental, sometimes glinting and sometimes glowering with the simultaneous light and weight of metal from beneath their patinas.” (Exh. Cat., New York, Gagosian Gallery, Cy Twombly: Eight Sculptures, 2009, p. 5) Twombly’s sublime abstract bronze communes many histories, fixed forever within its complex, stunning surfaces. It speaks of Twombly’s assemblage and the brilliant economy of his abstract vision; it speaks of his life-long pioneering interrogation of the space between what is seen, what is perceived and what is felt; and it speaks of Ashurbanipal and his ancient tablets, similarly standing as metaphor for a life’s work and as testament to all that has been learned.