Cy Twombly, American, Untitled, 1968, Oil and crayon on canvas; 200.7 x 261.6 cm (79 x 103 inches), The Albert Pilavin Memorial Collection of 20th-Century American Art 69.060
Cy Twombly’s work is distinguished by its focus on drawing and calligraphy. Although influenced by his friend Robert Rauschenberg and his painting teachers at Black Mountain College in North Carolina, Twombly was inspired by classical sources of Western art, from antiquity to the Renaissance. RISD’s Untitled is an important example of his “blackboard paintings.” A washy oil-paint background is scrawled upon, erased, and scribbled over again with white crayon. Loose, heart-shaped drawings drift up to the right, while looping gray smears of paint descend from the left. The capricious lines provide a gestural record, an acute reminder of the artist’s physical presence.