In tribute to the late Cy Twombly, Gagosian Gallery will present his last paintings, together with about 100 of his photographs. The eight untitled paintings are closely related to the Camino Real group that inaugurated Gagosian Paris in 2010. The inimitable, exuberant paintwork and bold, intense colors typify the freedom with which Twombly worked, never restricted to a single reference. Even in the face of his impending death, their elegiac power, vivid palette, and ardent gestures pulse with the energies of the new.
The intimate photographs range from early studio images taken in the 1950s to a group of landscapes taken in St Barths in 2011. Since 2008, major exhibitions of the artist’s photographs have been held at FOAM Amsterdam; Museum Brandhorst, Munich; and the Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels; however this is the first time that this lesser known aspect of Twombly’s oeuvre has been presented in such depth in the United States.
Twombly remains one of the world's most revered contemporary artists, whose central and ongoing relevance to the art of the present is attested to by a stream of recent survey exhibitions in leading international institutions. Since the opening of Larry Gagosian’s first gallery in New York in the mid-1980s, Twombly has been a cornerstone of Gagosian Gallery, where he made many exhibitions over the last 25 years. Each one was as surprising and memorable as the next, from “The Bolsena Paintings” (1990) to “The Coronation of Sesostris” (2001), “Lepanto” (2002), “Bacchus” (2006), “A Scattering of Blossoms” (2007), and “The Rose” (2009). “Ten Paintings and a Sculpture” (2004), “Three Notes for Salalah” (2008), “Leaving Paphos Ringed with Waves” (2009), and “Camino Real”(2010) inaugurated new galleries in London, Rome, Athens, and Paris respectively.
“The Last Paintings” opened in Los Angeles earlier this year and travelled to Hong Kong and London before coming to New York.
A fully illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition, with essays by Achim Hochdörfer, curator of “Cy Twombly: States of Mind” at Museum Moderner Kunst, Vienna (2009), curator Julie Sylvester, and a photo essay by Sally Mann. A fully illustrated catalogue of the photographs with an essay by Edmund de Waal, artist and author of The Hare with the Amber Eyes, is also available.
Cy Twombly (1928–2011) was born in 1928 in Lexington, Virginia. He studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (1947–49); the Art Students League, New York (1950–51); and Black Mountain College, North Carolina (1951–52). In the mid-1950s, following travels in Europe and Africa, he emerged as a prominent figure among a group of artists working in New York that included Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. In 1968, the Milwaukee Art Center mounted his first retrospective. This was followed by major retrospectives at the Kunsthaus Zürich (1987, traveled to Madrid, London, and Paris); the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1994, traveled to Houston, Los Angeles, and Berlin); and the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich (2006). In 1995, the Cy Twombly Gallery opened at The Menil Collection, Houston, exhibiting works made by the artist since 1954. The European retrospective “Cy Twombly: Cycles and Seasons” opened at the Tate Modern, London in June 2008, with subsequent versions at the Guggenheim Bilbao and the Museum of Modern Art in Rome in 2009. Recent exhibitions include “Cy Twombly: The Natural World, Selected Works 2000–2007,” The Art Institute of Chicago (2009) and “Sensations of the Moment,” the Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna (2009). In 2010, his permanent site-specific painting, Ceiling was unveiled in the Salle des Bronzes at the Musée du Louvre. At the same time he was made a Chevalier of the Légion d’Honneur by the French government. Twombly died in Italy in 2011.