News Press Release

SFMOMA Acquires Major Twombly Painting Directly From The Artist

Release date: January 31, 2000

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) announced today the acquisition of a major Cy Twombly painting from the artist's personal collection. The work, Untitled, 1971, is a monumental example of the artist's classic blackboard paintings, a series he began in 1966 and completed in 1971. It is both energetic and lyrical, with a richly worked surface of graffiti-like marks and erasures; at roughly 10 feet by 16 feet, it is also one of the artist's largest works. The first Twombly painting to enter the Museum's permanent collection, the work was acquired by SFMOMA as a fractional gift of an anonymous donor and will go on public view for the first time ever later this year. The Gagosian Gallery, New York, played an instrumental role in facilitating negotiations between the Museum and the artist.

David A. Ross, director of SFMOMA, noted, "The acquisition of this exceptional Cy Twombly painting fills a major gap in the Museum's collection of postwar abstract art. Over the last few years, it has been SFMOMA's privilege to acquire numerous significant works directly from the personal collections of some of the major American artists of the 20th century, including Ellsworth Kelly, Brice Marden and Robert Rauschenberg. We are especially proud to be able to give this fine work its first home outside the artist's studio."

Born in 1928 in Lexington, Virginia, Cy Twombly studied art at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (1947–49); the Art Students League, New York (1950–51); and Black Mountain College in North Carolina (1951–52). In the mid-1950s, following travels in Europe and Africa, Twombly emerged as a prominent figure among a group of New York–based artists that included Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. In 1959, Twombly settled permanently in Italy. He has had many one-person exhibitions internationally and has been the subject of major retrospectives in both Europe and the United States.

Cy Twombly
Untitled, 1971
oil-based house paint, wax and crayon on canvas
120 x 193 in.

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