From the Library: Cy Twombly Homes and Studios
Bridging the life and work of an enigmatic artist.
We love Cy Twombly's work - the expansive canvases and roughly constructed sculptures, the gestural brush strokes and nearly illegible inscriptions - the unapologtically modern practice that was so influenced by antiquity. The practice can come across as enigmatic, seemingly cut off from a larger context, and especially so when seen in a traditional museum setting. But to contextualize the work and the life of Cy Twombly, from his early beginnings in New York to his maturity in Italy, requires a broader more holistic view. A view provided in depth by the wonderful volume, Cy Twombly Homes and Studios.
“The past is a springboard for me….Ancient things are new things. Everything lives in the moment; that’s the only time it can live, but its influence can go on forever.”
Twombly set sail to Europe for the first time in 1952, traversing the Atlantic from New York with his friend Robert Rauschenberg: Naples, Rome, Florence, Siena, Assisi and Venice. An ardent traveler, collector, and investigator, Twombly grew more and more influenced by Ancient Greek and Roman cultures. At the suggestion of the Italian painter Toti Scialoja, he first took up residence in Italy in 1957 and it was just three years later that the family would relocate with him. Twombly would go on to collect spaces - sometimes permanently, sometimes fleetingly - from his native Lexington and New York to Paris and Rome.
Throughout his life Twombly opened the doors to these varied spaces to friends and photographers to document where he lived and worked. The spaces, often foreign and historic, seem to be revelatory when examining the personal input and the professional output of Twombly. Here the life and the work are an indistinguishable whole. Large canvases in varied states disappear into polished plaster walls while monochrome sculptures blend into collected collumns and busts. There is room for pieces by Oldenburg and chairs by Breuer, and room for classical writings and Louis XV furnishings. Friends like Rauschenberg would stop by and snap photos casually, while Horst P. Horst would provide Vogue with unprecedented access. Much to our benefit, this has all been exceptionally presented in Cy Twombly Homes and Studios.
Images here are of Cy Twombly Homes and Studios by Schirmer/Mosel. Text by Preston Alba.