Cy Twombly

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Cy Twombly, Part III, Part IV, and Part V of Nine Discourses on Commodus, 1963

Cy Twombly, Part III, Part IV, and Part V of Nine Discourses on Commodus, 1963. Oil, lead pencil, and wax crayon on canvas, 204 x 134 cm (each). Guggenheim Museum Bilbao GMB 2007.01. © FMGB Guggenheim Bilbao Museoa. Photo: Irene Panera Barandiaran

Cy Twombly

October 28, 2008–February 15, 2009

Cy Twombly (b. 1928) is one of the most relevant and influential artists working today. In the early 1950s he studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the prestigious Art Students League in New York, and at Black Mountain College near Ashville, North Carolina. Twombly has always been intensely fascinated by classical literature and history, both of which have a significant influence on his artistic language and creations.

Committed to collecting Twombly’s work, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao has recently acquired the series Nine Discourses on Commodus (1963). The work around which the exhibition is designed, it consists of nine distinct canvases and was the first of the artist’s series to be conceived as a unified whole. The exhibition features Twombly’s work in series, including the earlier five-canvas Ferragosto V (1961), which, unlike its successor, can be viewed as individual paintings. Other important series included in this major exhibition are Hero and Leandro (1984) and Quattro Stagioni (1993–94).

The selection of nearly one hundred paintings, drawings, and sculptures examines Twombly’s lengthy career and the singular nature of his work. Cy Twombly offers a closer look at the spirit of this marvelous artist who, as exhibition curator Carmen Giménez points out, “not only irradiates a fascinating personal magic, but has also taken us to the most intricate frontiers of contemporary painting.”


This exhibition is organized by Carmen Giménez, Curator of Twentieth-Century Art, and the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in collaboration with the Tate Modern, London.

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