Cy Twombly Dies in Italy at Age 83

Cy Twombly.

The artist Cy Twombly has passed away at age 83, a spokesperson for the Gagosian Gallery told The Observer.

Twombly had suffered from cancer for many years, according to the AFP. In his later years he split his time between Virginia and Italy, where he died.

Twombly’s first solo exhibition was organized in 1951 by the Samuel Kootz Gallery, though shortly afterward he traveled to Europe and Africa, returning home to work as an Army cryptologist. Back in New York he fell in with Robert Rauschenberg, and Jasper Johns and was called “the Third Man” by the critic Robert Hughes.

His best-known paintings were reminiscent of obsessive marks on a blackboard and he received retrospectives at the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Whitney, the Kunsthaus Zürich, the Pompidou Center and MoMA. He was once the center of a 1993 60 minutes literally titled “Yes… but Is It Art?” in which Morley Safer balked at one of his paintings selling for $2,145,000.

The Menil Collection in Houston opened its Renzo Piano-designed Cy Twombly Gallery in 1995.

“Cy Twombly was one of the outstanding painters of the Post-War generation,” said Tate Director Nicholas Serota, via email. “The lyricism and poetry of his paintings is fully evident in the current exhibition Twombly and Poussin: Arcadian Painters at the Dulwich Picture Gallery.”

“The art world has lost a true genius and a completely original talent, and for those fortunate enough to have known him, a great human being,” Larry Gagosian said in a statement. “We will not soon see a talent of such amazing scope and intensity. Even though Cy might have been regarded as reclusive, he didn’t retreat to an ivory tower. He was happy to remain connected and live in the present. Despite his increasing fame, he never lost the playfulness and sense of humor that was his true nature and, more importantly, he retained his humility. For me personally, it is an incredibly sad day and my thoughts are with Cy’s family and close friends.” Cy Twombly Dies in Italy at Age 83