Cy Twombly (1928-2011)
Cy Twombly (1928-2011)

Gladings (Love's Infinite Causes)

Cy Twombly (1928-2011)
Gladings (Love's Infinite Causes)
signed with the artist's initials and dated 'C. T. 73' (lower centre); titled 'Gladings' (upper right); titled 'Loves infinite Causes' (centre right)
wax crayon, graphite and adhesive tape on printed paper collage on paper
39 x 27 ¼in. (99 x 69.2cm.)
Executed in 1973
Galleria Gian Enzo Sperone, Turin.
Ace Gallery, Venice CA.
Galerie Daniel Templon, Paris.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1988.
Y. Lambert (ed.), Catalogue raisonné des oeuvres sur papier de Cy Twombly, Volume VI 1973-1976, Milan 1979, no. 13 (illustrated, p. 37).
N. Del Roscio (ed.), Cy Twombly Drawings Cat. Rais. Vol. 6 1972-1979, Munich 2016, no. 45 (illustrated in colour, p. 54).

Lot Essay

Frenzied lines of blustery grey and blue teem across Cy Twombly’s collage Gladings (Love’s Infinite Causes). Outlined in a delicate red which both frames the image and operates as a window onto Twombly’s tempestuous markings. Across the horizon of the page he wrote ‘love’s infinite causes’ in characteristically looping script. Executed in 1973, a year that played host to several exhibitions of Twombly’s drawings, the composition synthesizes the artist’s preoccupations of the period which married scientific inquiry with Romantic observations of the Mediterranean world. In the works of this period, Twombly embraced unadorned geometries and muted grounds to produce a visual idiom that shifted away from his earlier lyrical exuberance. In Gladings (Love’s Infinite Causes), this can be seen in the regimented marks and ruled linearity that underpins the collage. Echoing the formal palettes used by Robert Rauchenberg and Jasper Johns, who Twombly had met and become friends with when he first moved to New York City two decades prior, these works only appear understated; within their analytical images, Twombly’s kinetic energy prevails. Indeed, at the heart of the sublime torrent of Gladings (Love’s Infinite Causes) is an evocation of a gathering storm, a Mediterranean gale that defies all rational thought.
Twombly’s unrestrained forms and distinctive iconography belong to the tradition of Abstract Expressionism, yet his output transcends its specifically American origins. By 1973 Twombly had been living in Italy for almost twenty years, and his practice had long absorbed the country’s cultural history; his resulting works refract his cultural inheritances, engendering imagery that feels both ancient and universal. In Italy began Twombly’s enduring fascination with the sea, which would become the subject of many of his works including the 1959 suite of drawings Poems to the Sea and, contemporaneous to the present work, a series of seascapes created in Anacapri. Upon a collage of postcards, tape and paper, Twombly drew rushing marine blues, and like Gladings (Love’s Infinite Causes), the Anacapri works too evoke the line of the horizon. In this watery devotion Twombly visualised his complete surrender to the line, which he used to capture the continuous and unbounded crashing of waves against a shore. As Twombly explained, ‘each line is now the actual experience with its own innate history. It does not illustrate – it is the sensation of its own realisation’ (C. Twombly, interviewed by D. Sylvester, 2000, reprinted in C. Daigle, ‘Lingering at The Threshold Between Word and Image’, Tate Etc., vol. 13, May 1, 2008). For the artist, these semi-automatic marks were essential and vital, an index of his hand, and an affirmation of his corporeal being. In the bracing squall of Gladings (Love’s Infinite Causes), they convey a painterly strength and a limitless force of nature.

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