Cy Twombly: In beauty it is finished
This book was published on the occasion of Cy Twombly: In Beauty it is finished, Drawings 1951–2008 at Gagosian, West 21st Street, New York, the first career-spanning exhibition of drawings and works on paper by Twombly, marking what would have been the artist’s ninetieth birthday.
Throughout his career, Twombly sustained an active engagement with drawing, gesture, and making marks on paper. His urgent, meandering lines embody the intimate energies that carry over into his paintings, sculptures, and photographs. Despite their enigmatic qualities, Twombly’s drawings are strikingly articulate in their rhythm, line, and allusions. At once economical and deeply sensual, they contain a timeless language, mediating between ancient and modern culture.
One of the earliest works included is from a 1951 sketchbook. Several drawings feature cascades of pencil markings, subtle gradations, erasures, and other evidence of Twombly’s intense contact with the paper. The work that lends its title to the show is a book, constructed by the artist with handmade paper, comprising thirty-four pages of markings, begun in December 1983 and finished in 2002, with unruly smears of red, orange, and blue, flowerlike forms, a text from a Navajo night chant, and a haiku by Tan Taigi (1709–1771). The publication features an essay by curator David Anfam.