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Oil and crayon on canvas
79 × 68 in. (200.66 × 172.72 cm)
A second-generation Abstract Expressionist, Cy Twombly creates paintings that combine elements of gestural abstraction, drawing, and writing in a very personal style. Twombly was one of the first American artists to become interested in graffiti, in which he saw characteristics of both Surrealist automaticism and Abstract Expressionist improvisation. His work is essentially an art of making and erasing marks, creating through the process the meandering, calligraphic scrawls that have become his hallmark. In 1968 MAM presented Twombly’s first solo exhibition in an American museum; this painting was purchased out of that show. In this work, paint is used not as a means of recording gestural marks but rather to create the layered feel of a dusty, erased surface. The clumsy, not quite centered shapes drawn onto the surface with a wax crayon emphasize the fundamental role of the mark in image-making.
Andera, Margaret, Nonie Gadsden, Britt Salvesen, and Laurie Winters. Collection Guide: Milwaukee Art Museum. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Milwaukee Art Museum, 2004, pp. 40 and 70, cat. 62, color illus. p. 40.
Goldstein, Rosalie, ed. Guide to the Permanent Collection. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Milwaukee Art Museum, 1986, p. 216, b/w illus. p. 216.
This information is subject to change as the result of ongoing research.