Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Cy Twombly: 1928 - 2011

Cy Twombly in his Lexington, Virginia studio in 2010. Photo © Craig Pleasants.

It is with deep sadness that we note the death of our friend Cy Twombly yesterday in Rome. He was 83. Cy was widely acknowledged to be one of the most important and influential artists of the last fifty years, his work so well-known as to need no description here.

In the early 1990s, Cy started returning to Virginia from Italy for several weeks each year. It was then that two VCCA Fellows living in his hometown of Lexington brought him over the mountain for his first visit. Program Director Craig Pleasants visited him later in Lexington and invited him to join VCCA's advisory council, where he served for fifteen years.

In January of 1998, Cy came to VCCA for a short residency. In Craig's words, "He charmed everyone with his extraordinary humility and the lovely southern accent that had remained unaltered by four decades abroad. Last year, shortly after unveiling his ceiling in the Louvre, Cy was made a Chevalier of the Légion d'Honneur, the highest decoration in France, yet when Janice Herbert and I talked with him at the hotel right afterwards, he barely mentioned it."

Cy's friend Sally Mann once described him as a man with "a negligent grace, a whiff of mischief, and a charming insouciance." The artist Cy Twombly and his deft ecstatic touch will be missed by the world. At VCCA, we will miss Cy the gentle, unassuming, generous man.

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