Nov 16, 2021 - Sale 2588

Sale 2588 - Lot 158

Price Realized: $ 3,750
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 3,000 - $ 5,000
CY TWOMBLY (after)
Nine Discourses on Commodus by Cy Twombly at Leo Castelli, 1964.

Color offset lithograph poster, 1964. 700x486 mm; 27 1/2x19 1/4 inches (sheet), full margins. Signed in pencil, upper center.

Twombly (1928-2011) developed his signature style of graffiti-like, calligraphic scribbles in the mid-1950s, simultaneously referencing Abstract Expressionism while imbuing it with the weight of history. Following his permanent move to Rome in 1957, his fascination with Italian culture and history deepened, and in 1962 he began work on his painting series Nine Discourses on Commodus, inspired by the insanity and eventual murder of Roman emperor Aurelius Commodus. The Commodus paintings opened at Leo Castelli Gallery in 1964 to predominantly negative reviews, and returned to Italy with Twombly after they all went unsold; it would be years before the Commodus works, now exhibited at the Guggenheim Bilbao, and after Twombly had turned to his Blackboard paintings in the late 1960s, would come to be more widely appreciated.