Multicolored patches of ochre, pink, yellow and orange oil paint, wax crayon and graphite collide in Untitled and exemplify Twombly's idiosyncratic, layered process of mark-making. Twombly has vigorously punctuated the composition's expansive white field with symbols reproduced continuously throughout his oeuvre, including multiple "x" forms repeatedly enshrined in boxes, clouds of soft paint hues, and Roman numerical counting sequences. Twombly's marks here act as reductive iconography where the notion of writing has become a central and compelling tenet to the act of painting abstractly.
Where the city of Rome informed his ideological framework, it also offered a sense of privacy and isolation. As an American, Twombly's expatriation permitted the artist to distance himself from the New York school of Abstract Expressionism dominated by the likes of Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline and Jackson Pollock. Yet Twombly's allusion to epic narratives, grand myths and ancient history provides a profound link between conceptualism, minimalism and even Abstract Expressionism. The result is a highly individual and enigmatic body of work, in which Untitled plays a formative part.
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