Cy Twombly emerged as a prominent American artist during the Abstract Expressionist era of the 1950’s. After studying at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the Art Students League in New York, Twombly was persuaded by Robert Rauschenberg to enroll in the Black Mountain College in North Carolina. Here Twombly worked with fellow students Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns, under the guidance of faculty members Robert Motherwell, Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning, Josef Albers and others.
Twombly embraced many aspects of the Abstract Expressionist movement during this time, but he would eventually develop a style more reliant on literature and classical history. He moved to Rome in 1959, effectively distancing himself from the center of Abstract Expressionism in order to grow independently as an artist. Twombly developed a technique of gestural drawing that was characterized by thin white lines on a dark canvas that appear to be scratched onto the surface. This approach was reminiscent of the white writing pioneered by Mark Tobey, in whose work the viewer could also feel the artist's presence.
Twombly credits Dada and Surrealist artists such as Kurt Schwitters, Hans Arp and Alberto Giacometti as having the greatest influence on him, especially with regards to the intuitive manner with which he works. This effect can be seen in the variety of print editions the artist has produced, ranging from his abstract gestural drawings to mixed media prints.
Many museums represent the art of Cy Twombly, including: The Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, California; The Milwaukee Art Museum, Wisconsin; El Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania; The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; The Tate Gallery, London, England.