The AP reports that Cy Twombly, an American painter and sculptor famed for his large-scale scribbles and doodles, has died in a hospital in Rome at the age of 83. The polarizing artist, who emerged alongside his friends Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns as an important figure in New York’s 1950s art scene, created abstract work that defied classification or theorizing by critics and elicited a primal response from the viewer. As Lee Siegel at Slate once wrote of Twombly’s images, which were often inspired by mythology, poetry, and history, “They are not just products of the imagination; they do not exist as correlatives to ideas, let alone to things. Done in pencil and crayon, Twombly’s trademark images capture the transient, universal sign of distraction: the doodle. Twombly inverts both Pollock’s and LeWitt’s seriousness. He does not make art. He makes pre-art.” In 2008, Guardian art critic Jonathan Jones referred to Twombly as “the thinking person’s Banksy,” and called his career retrospective at the Tate Modern “a victory march by the greatest artist alive.” Find a small sample of the beloved artist’s work after the jump.
Untitled by Cy Twombly, 1953 © Cy Twombly from a private collection. Photograph courtesy of Gagosian Gallery.
Untitled by Cy Twombly, 1970 © Cy Twombly, from a private collection. Photograph courtesy of Gagosian Gallery.
Apollo by Cy Twombly, 1975 © Cy Twombly, from a private collection. Photograph courtesy of Gagosian Gallery.
Untitled by Cy Twombly, 1982 © Cy Twombly, from private collection. Photograph courtesy of Gagosian Gallery.
Bacchus series: Untitled VII, 2005, © Cy Twombly. Acrylic on canvas. Larry Gagosian Collection, New York.
Untitled by Cy Twombly, 2007 © Cy Twombly,, from the series A Scattering of Blossoms. Photograph courtesy of Gagosian Gallery.