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Biography of Cy Twombly

See works in the collection

b. 1928, Lexington, Virginia | d. 2011, Rome

1928
Born on April 25.
1947–49
Studies at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
1950
Continues his studies at the Art Students League in New York, where he will meet Robert Rauschenberg.
1951
Enrolls at Black Mountain College near Asheville, North Carolina, where his teachers are Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell, and Ben Shahn. Exhibits his work in a two-person show with Gandy Brodie at Kootz Gallery in New York.
1952
Travels around Europe and Africa with Robert Rauschenberg.
1953
Works as a cryptographer in the U.S. Army. Holds his first exhibition in Italy, at Galleria Via della Croce 71 in Rome. Has a two-person exhibition with Robert Rauschenberg at the Stable Gallery in New York.
1955
Begins to create his first abstract sculptures, which he paints white.
1957
Moves to Italy.
1958
Exhibits for the first time at Galleria la Tartaruga in Rome.
1959
Begins to create large-scale works, using text and numbers and including multiple classical references in them. Makes almost no sculptures between 1959 and 1976.
1960
Exhibits for the first time at Leo Castelli Gallery in New York.
1964
Participates in the XXXII Biennale di Venezia.
1965
Has his first museum exhibition, at the Museum Haus Lange in Krefeld, Germany.
1968
The Milwaukee Art Center organizes the first retrospective of Twombly's work.
1973
Two major retrospective exhibitions of his work are held in Switzerland: the Kunsthalle Bern presents paintings, while the Kunstmuseum Basel shows drawings.
1975
Exhibits at the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and at the San Francisco Museum of Art.
1976
The Musée d'Art moderne de la Ville de Paris presents an exhibition of Twombly's drawings. Begins working in sculpture again, seventeen years after he did the last one.
1977
Participates in Documenta 6 in Kassel, Germany.
1979
Cy Twombly: Paintings and Drawings, 1954–1977 is shown at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.
1981
Exhibits at Museum Haus Lange in Krefeld, Germany.
1982
Participates in Documenta 7 in Kassel, Germany.
1984
Work from the previous ten years is shown at CAPC, Musée d'Art Contemporain de Bordeaux.
1987
A retrospective of Twombly's paintings, drawings, and sculptures opens at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London. The show later travels to the Kunsthaus Zürich in Zurich, Switzerland and the Musée national d'art moderne-Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.
1994
The Museum of Modern Art in New York organizes a retrospective of Twombly's work that later travels to the Menil Collection in Houston, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, and the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin.
1995
Receives the Kaiserring prize from the city of Goslar, Germany.
1996
Twombly's work is exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Receives the Praemium Imperiale for painting, awarded by the Japan Art Association.
2000
The Kunstmuseum Basel mounts a show of Twombly's sculptures that will later travel to the Menil Collection in Houston and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
2001
Participates in the XLIX Biennale di Venezia, where he receives the Leone d'Oro in recognition of his life's work.
2002
Receives the Premio Internacional Julio González from the Institut Valencià d'Art Modern in Valencia, Spain.
2003
A retrospective of Twombly's works on paper opens at the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg. Over the following two years, it will travel to the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, Serpentine Gallery in London, Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, and Menil Collection in Houston.
2005
The exhibition Lepanto opens at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. Shows works on paper at Gagosian Gallery in New York. An archive is created in Rome to catalog Twombly's works on paper.
2006
The Alte Pinakothek in Munich presents the exhibition Cy Twombly Skulpturen (1992–2005). Awarded the McKim Medal by the American Academy in Rome.
2007
Exhibits at Gagosian Gallery in London; Thomas Ammann Fine Art in Zurich; Schirmer/Mosel Showroom in Munich; Collection Lambert in Avignon, France, and Kunsthaus Bregenz in Bregenz, Austria. Begins a painting for the ceiling of the Salle des Bronzes at the Musée du Louvre in Paris, to be completed in 2010.
2008
A retrospective titled Cy Twombly: Cycles and Seasons , curated by Nicholas Serota, opens at Tate Modern in London. In collaboration with Tate Modern, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao organizes the exhibition Cy Twombly, curated by Carmen Giménez. A version of the exhibition held in London travels to the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in Rome in 2009. Exhibits the Lepanto series at the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid, before it is permanently installed at the Museum Brandhorst in Munich.
2009
The Museum Brandhorst in Munich opens. The collection's many important works by Twombly are installed on the museum's second floor, which is devoted entirely to the artist. Exhibits at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien in Vienna.
2010
Named Chevalier of the Légion d'Honneur, France. Paints the ceiling for the Salle des Bronzes, Musée du Louvre, Paris. Gagosian Gallery, Paris, is inaugurated with an exhibition by the artist. His work is featured in group exhibitions at a number of museums: Institut Valencià d'Art Modern (IVAM), Valencia, Spain, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
2011
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, exhibits seven newly acquired sculptures by the artist. Collection Lambert in Avignon, France, presents the final exhibition produced by the artist before his death. The Dulwich Picture Gallery, London, presents the exhibition Twombly and Poussin: Arcadian Paintings. Participates in the group exhibition Made in Italy at the Gagosian Gallery, Rome. Dies in July at the age of 83.
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