Sotheby's /Oct 30, 2014
€3,708.92 - €5,192.49
Artworks in Arcadja716
Some works of Cy TwomblyExtracted between 716 works in the catalog of Arcadja
Auction: Christie's -Nov 12, 2014 - New YorkLot number: 20
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Cy Twombly (1928-2011) Untitled signed and dated 'Cy Twombly 1970' (on the reverse) oil based house paint and wax crayon on canvas 61 1/4 x 74 3/4 in. (155.5 x 190 cm.) Executed in 1970. Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner PROPERTY FROM A EUROPEAN PRIVATE COLLECTION M. de la Motte, "Cy Twombly," KUNSTFORUM International, February 1973, p. 118 (illustrated). N.N., "Kapitulationsurkunden," Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 14 May 1973, p. 31 (illustrated upside down). H. Bastian, ed., Cy Twombly: Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings, Volume III 1966-1971, Munich, 1994, pp. 236-237, cat. no. 113 (illustrated in color). I. Rowland, “The Art/L’’’’Arte,” Villa Taverna, 2012, pp. 108 and 120 (illustrated in color). Kunsthalle Bern and Munich, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Cy Twombly: Bilder 1953-1972, April-August 1973, n.p., no. 27 (illustrated). American Academy in Rome, L’’’’Arte Americana nelle Collezioni Private Italiane, May-June 1994, p. 107, no. 19 (illustrated). One of the famous series of Blackboard paintings that Cy Twombly made between 1966 and 1971, this large, over six-feet-long by five-feet-high painting of a tumultuous and burgeoning progression of spiraling lines is one of a magnificent group of lasso-loop paintings made in this year that mark the culmination of this dramatic and singular period in Twombly’’’’s career. In 1966 Twombly’’’’s art had undergone a radical change when the artist embarked on an entirely new direction marked by the first of what was to become a highly celebrated series of works now often known as his Blackboard paintings. Distinguishable for their strict graphic regularity, severe formal restraint and often apparent emptiness, these, in some ways, Minimalist-looking works were ones that marked a significant departure from the schismatic and spontaneous lyricism of the artist’’’’s earlier, predominantly white-ground paintings rooted in the history, mythology and emotion of the Mediterranean landscape. Executed between 1966 and 1971, the Blackboard paintings were so-named because they appeared to have been inspired by the notion of the classroom blackboard or the child’’’’s primer as a temporal and highly graphic conveyor of information. As in Untitled of 1970, these paintings were also predominantly painted on a series of swiftly executed dark grey oil-paint backgrounds that resembled the slate of a blackboard. With its swirling field of looping scribbles seeming to build into a frenetic, volatile and tempestuous sea of energy, this 1970 painting marks a significant development from the first lasso-loop Blackboard paintings that Twombly had begun in 1966. Translating the forms of these dramatic earlier works into a more cohesive, pulsating, graphic field of energy, this painting is one that takes this singular motif to new heights. Seeming to exist on the very borderlines of the formal structure that underpins the logic of its own creation, the tumult and swirling energy of the repeated loops of this painting appear to combine to form an ambiguous but almost uniform space or field, where the individual and specific become subsumed in the collective. In this way, the painting is a unique spatial and—as a rhythmic record of Twombly’’’’s actions—also temporal field where the singular, formal mark of Twombly’’’’s intuitive, erratic, but always controlled, line appears to transcend its own nature and become a cohesive expression of pure energy and infinite space. Painted on the artist’’’’s return to Rome from New York City, Untitled is one of a series of works made in the latter part of 1970 that revisited with a renewed vigor the lasso-loop motif with which Twombly had inaugurated this Blackboard period in 1966. Following his first paintings of spirals of 1966, Twombly’’’’s work had since been distinguished by a prolonged period, between 1968 and 1970, in which, he had abandoned the loose scrawl of these works in favor of sparse, mathematical, geometric forms on grey and white backgrounds that were inspired, he said, by all the talk and drama about space-time and calculation that accompanied the late-1960s’’’’ space race and the moon landings. In the early months of 1970 in New York, Twombly just as suddenly again abandoned this hard-edged and seemingly rational aesthetic, founded on calculations and measurements, to return once again to a more free-form expression of a space-time field of scribbles in a series of works that simultaneously appeared to both look back to great paintings like his Panorama of 1955 and to anticipate the ethereal, melancholic all-over field of his 1971 Nini paintings. Moving on again from these new spatial-field pictures towards a re-adoption of the structure of his first lasso-loop Blackboards of 1966, Twombly marked his return to Rome in 1970, with the series to which Untitled belongs, where, until the summer of 1971, he reworked this motif in a way that seemed to take it to the very limits of its possibility. Twombly’’’’s first Blackboard paintings had been made after a year-long break from painting following the traumatic debacle of 1964, when the Baroque exuberance and expressionism of his Nine Discourses on Commodus series had been savagely attacked by American critics. Reviewers of this exhibition such as Donald Judd and Michael Fried, had criticized these paintings for being indulgent, outmoded and irrelevant in the face of the then-prevailing, cool, Minimalist aesthetic of New York. When the spiraling loops of Twombly’’’’s first Blackboard paintings were first shown at the Galleria Notize in Turin in 1967 and, later, at Leo Castelli Gallery in New York, their comparatively austere, grey-grounds and simple graphic forms were seen as much more in keeping with the times. Greeted as a necessary purging of his former Baroque elaboration, these works were immediately hailed as a much-needed return to form. The critic Robert Pincus-Witten wrote, for example, that, “handwriting has become for Twombly the means of beginning again, of erasing the Baroque culmination of the painting of the early 1960s…it has been drowned in a schoolmaster’’’’ s blackboard …[and]… reduced to rudimentary exercises.” Constrained, rigid and seemingly a form of self-punishment, it was, Pincus Witten concluded, almost as if Twombly were admonishing himself in these works, as if he were writing, over and over again, “I will not whisper in class anymore” (R.Pincus-Witten “Learning to Write,” Cy Twombly, Paintings and Drawings exh. cat., Milwaukee, 1968, unpaginated). Using the graphic process of writing, and translating its continuous flow of a single line into a painterly language, Twombly adopted a strict formulaic procedure in order to produce these looped-line works. It is a process that closely echoes the Palmer method of teaching handwriting that in America was often taught to schoolchildren. Indeed, this extremely strict, near-mechanical technique, which required pupils to practice handwriting drills on a daily basis moving neither fingers nor wrists but only their arms, was the technique that Twombly himself had been taught. Interestingly, this method was often accompanied, in Virginia at least, by a teacher shouting out a count time in accordance with the rhythmic nature of the loops that the student was obliged to make. In this way, time, line and the spatial field of the blackboard all became synchronized and integrated into one singular and repetitive discipline. Now, working in the opposite direction to the children who learned to impose such a rigid order and a rational discipline on their hand, Twombly adopted the technique of a perpetual repetition of a looped line as a means of increasing the fluid and graphic energy of his line while still maintaining a continuum throughout. In Untitled, as in several of the 1970 series, the integrity and rhythm of Twombly’’’’s sequential looping of line establishes a febrile equilibrium that here has been brought to the point of disintegrating. Hovering on the edge of indistinguishableness in places, four burgeoning horizontal lines of force draw on the innovation and power of Twombly’’’’s increasingly erratic line to build and pulsate like the steady, uniform surge of four oncoming waves. The nuance and strength of expression that Twombly manages to inflect in his line while still maintaining a continuous rhythm and flow is what makes these lasso-works truly exceptional. Twombly’’’’s incisive and idiosyncratic line simultaneously manages to express both a continuity and a fracturing of this flow, which generates a pervasive sense of dynamic independent movement caught up in a collective progression caused by an irresistible, insistent and perpetual force. In this, the lasso-line paintings reflect something of Italian Futurists’’’’ use of the dynamic rhythm of disjunction to suggest motion, energy and simultaneity. Predating the advent of Fascist art and the Stalinist Realism of the 1930s and 40s, the motion studies of the Futurists were largely untainted by recent political history and as such they informed much of the new art in Italy in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Of particular relevance for Twombly were works like Umberto Boccioni’’’’s 1911 studies for States of Mind and Giacomo Balla’’’’s many studies of air currents and the flight of birds that also followed the example set in the 15th century by Leonardo. Twombly is also known to have been looking closely at Duchamp at this time, in particular, his early Futurist works, such as Nude Descending a Staircase and Sad Young Man on a Train, although it is perhaps the French artist’’’’s Three Standard Stoppages that is most resonant in connection with such measured and yet poetic explorations of line as those that Twombly’’’’ s Blackboard paintings present. With its dramatic over lacing of many irregular looping lines, Untitled is an elaborate, even flamboyant example from Twombly’’’’s series of lasso-line paintings. It is a work in which the raw energy and singularity of Twombly’’’’s magical line, though miraculously maintained throughout, seems, in places, frenetic and almost on the point of scrambling out of control. Calling to mind Jackson Pollock’’’’s precarious balancing act and extraordinary control of his whole composition, even when caught up in the individual drama of his drip, here Twombly’’’’s frothing line appears to articulate one continuous pulsating field of energy. Written, rather than painted, in wax crayon over a grey-oil ground, the perpetual and burgeoning swirl of Twombly’’’’s repetitive calligraphy becomes painterly here, in spite of the fact that it is essentially the expression of the perpetual, irresistible momentum of a series of seemingly single lines. In this particular painting, Twombly achieved the rich gray surface by using a cloth soaked in dilutant, often rubbing it into the canvas which removed paint before he painted over it again. This achieved a range of beautiful paint variations, resulting in an almost blue-hue. In response to criticism of the apparent crudity or untutored rawness of his line—something that the artist had, in fact, worked hard to effect—Twombly replied that it was a “child-like” line but not a “childish” one. He is known in the 1950s, for example, to have sat up late at night drawing in the dark so as to untrain his hand from its trained conventions and habits and to awaken the raw, untutored mark of expression and feeling, instinctive in a child. Such “child-like” quality to his line, Twombly once pointed out, is in fact, “very difficult to fake, to get that quality you need to project yourself into the child’’’’s line. It has to be felt” (Cy Twombly quoted in Hayden Herrera, “Cy Twombly, A Homecoming,” Harper’’’’s Bazaar, no. 3393, August, 1994, p. 147). In a large-scale painting like Untitled of 1970, which was painted upright with the artist standing, facing it at close proximity, this all-important “feeling” of the line would also have involved the motion of the artist’’’’s whole body. The act of painting or drawing such a work, therefore, becomes a powerful and exhausting physical act in which the act of painting/drawing becomes a repetitive and rhythmic dance. In this way, too, the entire process of making the work and the resultant form that Twombly’’’’s line takes as a result of this process is a graphic expression of this, not just mental, but bodily act of feeling. It is, Twombly once explained to David Sylvester, something that comes “through the nervous system. It’’’’s like a nervous system. It’’’’s not described, it’’’’s happening. The feeling is going on with the task. The line is the feeling, from a soft thing, a dreamy thing, to something hard, something arid, something lonely, something ending, something beginning. It’’’’s like I’’’’m experiencing something frightening, I’’’’m experiencing the thing and I have to be at that state because I’’’’m also going. I don’’’’t know how to handle it. Pollock, when you see him working...to me, Pollock is the height of American painting. It’’ ’’s very lyrical. Gorky, who is very passionate, can copy a drawing or take a drawing and copy it exactly as a painting, and Miro can too, it’’’’s amazing. Miro can do a drawing to paint and that’’’’s another training in a sense. So there’’’’s a certain mannerism that comes in both of them, and probably everything becomes obvious in time. But I don’’’’t have that. The line is illustrated or the colour. I’’’’m sure it has great feeling when they’’’’re doing it, but it’’’’s more towards defining something. It has a certain clarity because it’’’’s a complex thing. I’’’’m a painter and my whole balance is not having to think about things. So all I think about is painting” (Cy Twombly “Interview with David Sylvester” in David Sylvester, Interviews with American Artists, London, 2001, pp. 178-179). As in Boccioni’’’’s painting States of Mind, for example, and even more particularly in some of the drawings for this famous tripartite painting in the New York Museum of Modern Art’’’’s collection, the sense of individual or autonomous form in Untitled, ultimately, is undermined as each element comes to be presented as interdependent on the others. It is in this way, through the clever integration of a sense of the single line, the multiple line and of the whole, that Twombly’’’’s painting comes to present a not dissimilar graphic approximation of a sense of journeying, of odyssey and also, therefore, of the multiple-layered mystery of human existence. Presenting what appears to be the path of a single line, but which is in fact many layers of both revealed and obliterated but continuous lines fluctuating along the same directional path, Untitled is a work that articulates a strong existential sense of unity and diversity. Reduced to such an apparent unity, “each line” as Twombly once asserted in a rare early statement about his work, “is the actual experience” charting “its own innate” but here, also, integrated “history.” It does not illustrate, but “is the sensation of its own realization” ( “Documenti di una nuova figurazione: Toti Scialoja, Gastone Novelli, Pierre Alechinsky, Achille Perilli, Cy Twombly,” L’’ ’’ Esperienza moderna, no. 2, August-September 1957, p. 32). In this way and in this work, Twombly’’’’s line comes to stand as a powerful metaphor for the single but also, ultimately, integrated path that an individual life takes within a similar multiple, diverse but ultimately united whole.
Auction: Sotheby's -Nov 12, 2014 - New YorkLot number: 188
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Cy Twombly 1928-2011 SESOSTRIS II signed, titled and dated Roma May 74 on the reverse gouache and crayon on paper 27 1/2 by 39 1/2 in. 69.9 by 100.3 cm. Read Condition Report Read Condition Report Register or Log-in to view condition report Saleroom Notice Provenance Anthony d'Offay Gallery, London Private Collection, Chicago Anthony Grant, Inc., New York Acquired by the present owner from the above in 2005 Literature Yvon Lambert, Cy Twombly: Catalogue Raisonné des Oeuvres sur Papier, Volume VI, 1973-1976, Milan, 1979, cat. no. 100, p. 108, illustrated Executed almost two decades after first moving to Rome, Cy Twombly's Sesostris II, a minimal gouache from 1974, presents the sensibility the artist learned abroad, as fresh as if it were executed a decade and a half prior. Originally from rural Virginia, Twombly was always soothed and inspired by his natural surroundings. The rolling hills and sparkling sea, paired with Italy's ancient culture influenced Twombly to pattern his painterly motifs after those mythologized vistas and age old-old ruins. "Painting," wrote Twombly, "is the fusing of ideas, fusing of feelings, fusing projected on atmosphere," (Exh. Cat., London, The Tate Gallery, Cy Twombly: Cycles and Seasons, 2008, p. 24). Sesostris II confers, in the simplest possible visual terms, his devotion to an organic idiom. The single blue leaf, seemingly swept into the bottom corner of the work by Twombly's brush, is suspended beneath a gauzy layer of white paint. The rest of the composition is bare, though not without treatment. Faint horizontal lines and a thin impasto mirror his famous autographic gestures—the illegible calligraphic marks for which he his known. Twombly's entire oeuvre is one of a reduced palette; he strips his craft down to its essence, illuminating the medium itself and often forcing the paint to be its own subject. Twombly's mid-career surfaces are primed with less and lighter paint. Sesostris II highlights his ethereal sense of composition and the lyrical quality with which he arranges even the scarcest of imagery. Fellow painter Robert Motherwell recognized that Twombly's singular gift was, "his native temperamental affinity with the abandon, the brutality, the irrational in avant-garde painting of the moment. His painting process ... is orgiastic...yet the art in his painting is rational, often surprisingly simply symmetrical, and invariably harmonious" (Exh. Cat., New York, Sperone Westwater, Cy Twombly: Paintings and Sculptures 1951-1953, 1989, n.p.). Fig. 1 Cy Twombly. The Four Seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter, 1993-94. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Digital Image © The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA / Art Resource, NY © Cy Twombly This work is in good condition overall. There is some light wear and handling to the sheet, resulting in some light surface abrasions and some very minor pinpoint accretions visible under close inspection. There is a 4 1/4 inch repaired tear along the left edge of the sheet, 9 inches from the bottom. Under close inspection, it appears the paper has creased slightly in the center, 7 1/2 inches from the bottom, creating some very fine and stable hairline craquelure. The sheet is hinged verso to the matte. Framed under Plexiglas. In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.
Auction: Sotheby's -Nov 11, 2014 - New YorkLot number: 28
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Cy Twombly 1928 - 2011 UNTITLED signed and dated NYC Feb 67 on the reverse oil on paper 20 3/4 x 22 1/2 in. 52.7 x 57.1 cm. Read Condition Report Read Condition Report Register or Log-in to view condition report Saleroom Notice Provenance Mr. and Mrs. Francois de Menil, New York Sotheby's, New York, November 10, 1988, Lot 55 Fumi International, Inc., Tokyo Richard Gray Gallery, Chicago Acquired by the present owner from the above in 1998 "Cy Twombly tries to shatter form as well as its concomitant intellectual and narrative history in a kind of relativism, reducing it to a rationality of 'black and white' that is at the same time the structural sum of all movement." (Heiner Bastian, ed., Cy Twombly: Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings, Volume III 1966-1971, Munich, 1994, p. 23). Pulsating with a tangible kinetic energy only felt in the most stunning of Cy Twombly’’s Blackboard compositions, Untitled, 1967, is a spectacular work on paper from the artist’’s corpus. A tempest of graphic loops, gathered into ten semi-determinate horizontal bands, urgently courses across the work’’s surface, covering it entirely in a rolling sweep of alternately expanding and contracting lasso-like marks. Twombly’’s enigmatic line, here dynamically scrawled in layers of accumulating density, immediately implicates the formality of typography whilst resolutely denying accessible legibility. In the present work, the artist reduced his forms to their most elegant and elementary essence, inscribing his surface with a sublime visual poetry. The resultant composition embraces an unremittingly free association between painting and language, becoming a distinctly lyrical form of abstraction and a summation of Robert Pincus-Witten’’s declaration that "Handwriting has become for Twombly the means of beginning again, of erasing the Baroque culmination of the painting of the early 1960s...beautiful writing has been submerged within a Jasper Johns-like gray field. Put bluntly, it has been drowned in a schoolmaster's blackboard." (Robert Pincus-Witten, "Learning to Write," 1968, in Nicola del Roscio, ed., Writings on Cy Twombly, Munich, 2002, p. 56) In 1966, the year directly preceding this work’’s execution, Twombly relinquished all claims to the emotive power of color, a force that had characterized much of his earlier work, to embark upon a series of matte grey canvases and works on paper in the pursuit of a more expressive clarity. In the present work, Twombly built up his ground through successive applications of tonally different gray oil paint. Before the surface dried, he incised his coiled registers into the light gray pigment, revealing a darker gray layer underneath and bestowing upon his work a distinct three-dimensionality that defies preconceived notions of what a work on paper can achieve. Amongst the waves of engraved paint float islands of thick impasto which imbue Untitled with a further enhanced sculptural quality. A sublimely lyrical paean to an absolutely central theme of Twombly’’s oeuvre – the unadulterated confluence of media and subject – Untitled, 1967 is a mature exemplar of Frank O’’Hara’’s description of the correlation formed between the ground and the motif – and between painting and drawing – in the artist’’s earliest abstractions: “this new development makes the painting itself the form.” (Frank O’’ Hara, “Cy Twombly,” ARTnews, vol. 53, no. 9, January 1955, p. 46) The all-over spiraling impressions in Untitled cover the entire surface and triumphantly undermine any preoccupation with a central compositional motif or even the diversion of specific subject matter, while the act of erasure and over-drawing dramatically destabilizes the intended legibility of handwriting and the cipher of language held therein. Thus, as Twombly’’s line repeatedly nears the precipice of lexical recognition, ultimately any prescribed attributions of sign referents are overruled by the physical properties of pure form. The process of drawing for Twombly embodied the paradox of time and the convergence of many seemingly dissimilar elements into a single composition disclosing the intricacies of his profound visionary awareness. In Untitled, the freedom of movement of course evokes the liberal energy of Jackson Pollock’’s action painting, while the all-over but low-pressure imagery is similar to Jasper Johns’’ gray paintings. As viewers we are seduced, by what is perceived as a stark reduction of the painted surface to its most elemental form, into the hidden complexity and depth of the image. Unlike the static, semi-figurative black and white paintings of Twombly's formative years in the early 1950s, the inimitable gray works of the 1960s saw the centrifugal energy and erotic charge of Twombly's Baroque-inspired early 1960s paintings transferred into a rhythmic discourse of mood and movement. Despite a residual yearning to decipher the written marks that describe Untitled as an inherently human need, Twombly's visual language has neither syntax nor logic. With the unsophisticated rawness of illegible graffiti Twombly invents a transcendent new visual language to interrogate both the most elementary and the most sophisticated concerns posed by the genesis of creativity. Teeming with pure artistic brilliance, Untitled stands as tangible testimony to Cy Twombly’’s staggering innovation and peerless abstract aesthetic. Fig. 1 Jasper Johns, Gray Numbers, 1957 Private Collection Art © 2014 Jasper Johns / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY Fig. 2 Cy Twombly at Black Mountain College, 1951 Photograph by Robert Rauschenberg Art © Robert Rauschenberg Foundation / Licensed by VAGA, New York
Auction: Sotheby's -Oct 30, 2014 - New YorkLot number: 385
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Cy Twombly B.1928 SIX LATIN WRITERS AND POETS APPOLLODORO; AND SIX LATIN WRITERS AND POETS VIRGILUS (BASTIAN 64, 66) Two lithographs printed in colors, with embossing, from the portfolio of seven, 1976, each initialed in pencil on the verso and numbered 30/60, on Richard de Bas handmade paper, published by Propyläen Verlag, Berlin, framed (2 prints) images: 328 by 252mm 12 7/8 by 9 7/8 in sheets: approx. 648 by 502mm 25 1/2 by 19 7/8 in The prints are in good condition and with full margins. The sheets are slightly toned with soft rippling. The occasional pale fox mark and minor surface soiling at extreme sheet edges. Framed "In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Cy Twombly Untitled, from On the Bowery , 1969-71 Screenprint in colors, on Schollers Parole paper, the full sheet, S. 25 1/2 x 25 1/2 in. (64.8 x 64.8 cm) signed and numbered 25/100 in pencil on the reverse (there were also 20 artist's proofs), published by Edition Domberger, Stuttgart (with their blindstamp), unframed. Heiner Bastian 27