63
63

PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE GERMAN COLLECTOR

Cy Twombly
UNTITLED
Estimate
400,000600,000
LOT SOLD. 502,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
63

PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE GERMAN COLLECTOR

Cy Twombly
UNTITLED
Estimate
400,000600,000
LOT SOLD. 502,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art Evening Auction

|
London

Cy Twombly
1928 - 2011
UNTITLED
signed and dated Roma 1963
acrylic, ballpoint pen, wax crayon, coloured pencil and lead pencil on paper
50 by 70.2 cm. 19 5/8 by 27 5/8 in.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Galleria La Tartaruga, Rome
Private Collection, Italy
Heiner Bastian, Berlin
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1973

Literature

Nicola Del Roscio, Cy Twombly: Drawings, Cat. Rais., Vol. 3, 1961–1963, Munich 2013, p. 193, no. 275, illustrated in colour

Catalogue Note

Modulating bursts of line, form and colour erupt across the surface of Cy Twombly’s 1963 work on paper, Untitled (Rome). An array of jet-like marks in silver-grey, coal black, burnt orange and primary tones of red, yellow and blue, emanate from the bottom left corner of the pictorial plane into a dynamic synthesis of scribbles, smudges and fractious scrawls. Rendered in interspersing strokes of graphite, coloured pencil, wax crayon, acrylic and ballpoint pen, this enigmatic lexicon of signs and symbols bears the hallmark of Twombly’s practice, in which figuration and abstraction, fact and fiction, and history and myth, begin to blend and blur beyond tangible distinction. As Roland Barthes intuits, “Twombly’s art consists in making us see things: not those which he represents… but those which he manipulates: a few pencil strokes, this squared paper, this touch of pink, this brown smudge. This is an art with a secret” (Roland Barthes, ‘The Wisdom of Art’, in: Exh. Cat., Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Cy Twombly: Paintings and Drawings 1954-1977, 1979, pp. 9-10). Untitled (Rome) was executed during a period of prolific production, following Twombly’s life-changing move to Rome in 1957. Captivated by the ancient grandeur of the Eternal City, as much as by the avant-garde spirit of his Italian contemporaries from Piero Dorazio to Giorgio de Chirico, Twombly created a body of work inspired by the surrounding architecture, language, history and lifestyle, in a world where past and present collide. “I was mainly interested in the country and the life and the people, more than Rome even,” the artist explained; “I mean the balance of life was like a dream, everything was functioning in the most natural way” (Cy Twombly cited in: Exh. Cat., Tate Modern, London, Cy Twombly: Cycle and Seasons, 2008, p. 45).

Born in Virginia, USA, in 1928, Twombly demonstrated great artistic talent from a young age. He attended a number of prestigious art institutions, including Black Mountain College in North Carolina between 1951 and 1952, and became acquainted with many pioneering figures of the Twentieth Century from Franz Kline and Robert Motherwell to John Cage. After receiving a grant from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in 1952, he left America to travel throughout North Africa and Europe with his close friend Robert Rauschenberg, where he became fascinated by the boundless diversity of cultures and colours, sights and sites. Just two years later, he served in the U.S. Army as a cryptographer. Such experiences were to profoundly influence his artistic style and, as sociologist and writer Annie Cohen-Solal has stated, Twombly can perhaps be best understood through his “identity as an intercultural artist at heart” (Annie Cohen-Solal, ‘The Multiple Territories of Cy Twombly’, in: Exh. Cat., Eykyn Maclean, London, Cy Twombly: Works from the Sonnabend Collection, 2012, p. 9). Seeking to unlearn and unravel his traditional artistic training, Twombly forged a radical new visual language of freely-scribbled, graffiti-like forms, driven by raw emotion over reason, primal instinct above rational. “Each line now is the actual experience with its own innate story,” he proclaimed; “it is an involvement in essence… into a synthesis of feeling, intellect etc. occurring without separation in the impulse of action” (Cy Twombly cited in: Cy Twombly, Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings: Volume II 1961-1965, Berlin 1993, p. 21). Drawing from a wealth of subject matter as diverse as primordial times, hieroglyphics, calligraphy, mythology and the clash between the ancient and the modern worlds, the present work delivers a palimpsest of history, time and space, both confounding and compelling.

Contemporary Art Evening Auction

|
London