PRINT May 1979

Cy Twombly: Major Changes in Space, Idea, Line

CY TWOMBLY’S PAINTINGS REVEAL a cultivated, allusive mind and a personality at once lyrical and ironic, anxious and lazy, passionate and laconic. The works range from moods of wit or ennui to the profundity of those in which the content is the death of culture and history. Starting, like Rauschenberg, by “using” cultural material, Twombly comes in his later painting to identify himself with culture.

Twombly was born in Lexington, Virginia, in 1929. A contemporary of Rauschenberg, he studied at Black Mountain College with Motherwell and Kline. Since 1957 he has lived in Rome and traveled extensively throughout Italy and Greece. Exploiting as it does aspects both of modern and past culture, Twombly’s work of the last 20 years shows a complex relation to American as well as European stylistic sources. In his graphic touch there is a psychic freedom and an emotive-expressive quality linking

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