Cy Twombly, titan of modern art, dies at 83


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Cy Twombly, one of the most prominent figures in the world of modern art, died Tuesday at age 83. The American artist died in Rome after a battle with cancer, according to reports.

Twombly is known for his abstract paintings and other works that use repetitive lines and calligraphy-like writing. His often challenging style made him a favorite among other artists, but it kept him at arm’s length from the general public. Critics were often divided on the merit of this work, but he eventually became regarded as a key figure of 20th century modern art.


Born in Virginia, Twombly became associated with the New York School early in his career. During the late 1950s, Twombly moved to Italy, where he spent much of the rest of his life. The artist never fit neatly into artistic categories, flirting with various movements including abstract expressionism and minimalism. His unclassifiable nature is partly what kept him from achieving the same level of fame as contemporaries such as Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns.

Notably shy of the media, Twombly rarely gave interviews and kept a low public profile. Nonetheless, his art was exhibited in museums and galleries around the world. In 2010, he was invited to paint a ceiling in Paris’ Louvre Museum, a rare honor in the art world.

A complete obituary will follow at


Cy Twombly: Hitting the Louvre ceiling

Robert Rauschenberg obituary

-- David Ng