Cy Twombly’s Reverberating Blackboard Paintings

London | 27 June 2023

Belonging to the artist’s iconic series of ‘Blackboard’ paintings created between 1968 and 1971, Cy Twombly’s Untitled of 1970 reflects a period of great convergence in post-war art. The titanic modes of Abstract Expressionism, Minimalism, and Pop art proposed competing philosophies for the grand trajectory of progressive innovation; herein Twombly’s reverberating and now iconic loops atop expressive grounds refract these overlapping spheres of influence. Many works in this series comparable in scale and execution belong to the world’s most renowned museums and institutions, including: The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Menil Collection, Houston; The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and the Benesse House Museum, Naoshima. However, unlike every other 'Blackboard' painting that bears white loops on a grey ground, the rare umber and dark grey marks here juxtapose frenetic mark-making with a sense of calm serenity also evocative of the drawings of the High Renaissance.

This work is being offered in the Modern and Contemporary Evening Auction, featuring Face to Face: A Celebration of Portraiture on 27 June at Sotheby's London.

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