Cy Twombly, post-war abstract art giant

5th July 2011, Comments 0 comments

Influential US artist Cy Twombly, who died Tuesday aged 83, was a key figure in the post-war abstract art world with a career spanning six decades.

Renowned for his vast canvasses adorned with scribblings, the artist let his abstract creations speak for themselves, rarely giving interviews or appearing in public.

Born in Lexington, Virginia in 1928, Edwin Parker Twombly, nicknamed Cy by his father, studied art at the famous Black Mountain College near Asheville, North Carolina in the 1950s.

It was there he met the likes of Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg with whom he later travelled to South America, Spain and Italy.

At the end of the '50s he made Italy his home, settling in the town of Gaeta between Rome and Naples, and exhibiting his paintings and sculptures throughout Europe.

Among his signatures were the use of the colour white, his graffiti-like scribblings, and in his photographs, the play of light.

In 2009 Vienna's Museum of Modern Art showcased 200 of his drawings, paintings, sculptures, collages and photographs in an exhibition entitled "Sensations of the Moment."

Director Edelbert Koeb said at the time: "Cy Twombly is the link between the formal radicalisation of US post-war art and the complexity of European painting."

The complexity of his paintings, Koeb said, "arises primarily from the attempt to confront the model of improvisation with methods of planned chance."

Twombly had suffered with cancer for several years, according to Eric Mezil, director of the Lambert collection in southern France. An exposition of his photographs opened last month at the gallery in Avignon.

According to Mezil it was Twombly's wish to be buried in his adopted homeland.

"He wanted to be buried in Rome, the city he has cherished for 50 years," he said.

© 2011 AFP

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