Cy Twombly

Most Popular

Lexington city,
Birth Sign
Lexington city,

Famous American painter and sculptor Edwin Parker “Cy” Twombly Jr. The Spanish artist Pierre Daura, who was born in Lexington, Virginia, was the most significant figure who influenced him in his formative years. He began painting professionally after having formal training in the arts from Pierre Daura and other famous art and museum schools. He became interested in the art of Soutine, Dadaism, and German Expressionism. He started sculpting as well and created statuettes out of leftover materials. His sponsored trips to Europe and Africa were the main sources of inspiration for his artwork. He also spent a brief time working as a cryptologist for the American Army. His creative style and medium were both impacted by this job. He began with simple visual markers and quickly developed a meta-script using condensed symbols, numerals, and straightforward hieroglyphs. His work revealed synthesis of empathetic breadth, intellectual sophistication, and an enormous obsession with cultural memory. His mythology-themed paintings, drawings, and sculptures represent a significant piece of that collective memory. He is considered one of the foremost artists who separated himself from Abstract Expressionism, along with Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns.

Early Childhood & Life

Twombly was born in Lexington, Virginia, on April 25, 1928. Baseball pitcher Edwin Parker “Cy” Twombly, his father, played for the Chicago White Sox.

Twombly began his lifelong association with painting when he enrolled in individual sessions with Pierre Daura at the age of twelve to fourteen. He joined Darlington School in Rome after graduating from Lexington High School in 1946.

Later, he attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston from 1948 to 1949 before attending Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, from 1949 to 1950.

He received a scholarship to study at the Art Students League of New York from 1950 to 1951. Eventually, he ran with Robert Rauschenberg there, who persuaded him to enroll at North Carolina’s Black Mountain College.

He studied at Black Mountain College from 1951 to 1952 with Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell, and Ben Shahn. Additionally, he got to know John Cage, and the poet and college rector Charles Olson had a big impact on him.

The career of Cy Twombly

The Samuel M. Kootz Gallery in New York City planned Twombly’s independent show in 1951. He was influenced by Paul Klee’s imagery and Kline’s black-and-white gestural expressionism at the time.
He was given money by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in 1952 to go to North Africa and Europe. On this tour, Robert Rauschenberg was with him.

He worked as a cryptologist in the American Army in 1954, which had an impact on his later artistic vision. He frequently traveled to New York to paint when on leave.
He taught at Southern Virginia University from 1955 to 1956. He continued to visit New York throughout the summer vacation to paint in his lodging.

He was a well-known artist by 1959. He was interested in tribal art at the time, and his work incorporated primitivism. His paintings usually included thin white lines on dark canvases that looked scraped.

He also found popularity as a sculptor at about the same time. His first sculptures were created from scrap materials and served as a record of his cultural experiences in Europe and North Africa. But following a prosperous phase, he gave up sculpture in 1959.

From 1962 on, mythology was a recurring motif in his artwork, as seen in “Leda and the Swan” and “The Birth of Venus.” Then, between 1967 and 1971, he produced a number of “Grey Paintings” that consisted of quick, grey scrawls that didn’t actually form words but looked like chalk writing on a blackboard.

He began to use collage components, written inscriptions, and colors like brown, green, and light blue in the middle of the 1970s to suggest landscapes in his works of art. He resumed creating sculptures in 1976. These were made from discarded items and painted white to resemble classical forms.

He was inspired by Homer’s Iliad to produce the enormous historical collection “Fifty Days at Iliam” in 1978. From that point on, he continued to depict literature and mythology in his artwork.

Bigger Works of Cy Twombly

Mythology was a recurring element in Twombly’s work during the 1960s. He depicted Leda being raped by Zeus/Jupiter six times between 1960 and 1963: once in 1960, twice in 1962, and three times in 1963. Leda and the Swan and The Birth of Venus are two of his other important works from this time period.

In 1994, he finished the enormous “Four Seasons” painting. He gave it to the Museum of Modern Art the following year.

He created the large-scale painting “Bacchus,” measuring 176 square meters, for the Vienna State Opera’s 2010–2011 season as a component of the “Safety Curtain” exhibition series.

Recognition & Achievements

He was awarded the renowned “Praemium Imperiale” in 1996 in addition to the “Internationaler Preis für bildende Kunst des Landes Baden-Württemberg” in 1984 and the “Rubens-Peis der Stadt Siegen” in 1987.
At the 49th Venice Biennale in 2001, he was awarded the Golden Lion. He has previously shown at the tournament in 1964 and 1989.

The French government awarded him the title of “Chevalier of the Légion d’Honneur” in 2010.
In 2010, the Musée du Louvre in Paris unveiled his permanent site painting, Ceiling. In addition to Georges Braque and François Morellet, he is the third artist to have received this honor.

Personal Legacy & Life

Twombly relocated to Rome in 1957, where he met Baroness Tatiana Franchetti and fell in love. They were wed in New York in 1959, and Cyrus Alessandro Twombly was their son. Cyrus grew up to be a painter like his father.
Following their nuptials, the couple purchased a palazzo in Rome. They also had a villa from the 17th century. They stayed together until Tatiana’s passing in 2010.

He first met Nicola Del Roscio of Gaeta in 1964, and she went on to serve as his longtime assistant, archivist, and companion. He even invested in a home in the sleepy Italian village and rented a studio.

He died in Rome on July 5, 2011, following a protracted battle with cancer. Most of his artwork and financial assets were donated to the Cy Twombly Foundation per his will.

Estimated Net Worth

Wikipedia, Forbes, IMDb, and other online sites estimate that before his death, well-known painter Cy Twombly had a net worth of $114 million. He worked as a professional painter to make the money. He is a Virginia native.


He would slide along the length of the canvas while sitting on a friend’s shoulders to create his famed “Grey Paintings,” which are known for their fluid lines.

Tacita Dean made a movie about him called “Edwin Parker” in 2010.