Six Twombly’s From Dia Among Nine at Sotheby’s Nov. 2013 Evening Contemporary Sale in New York-UPDATED
UPDATE 1: The New York Times reports that a lawsuit filed by to DIA founders Heiner Friedrich and Fariha de Menil Friedrich to prevent the sale of the Twombly’s and other artwork from DIA’s collection has been dropped:
Two founders of the Dia Art Foundation who have been vehemently opposed to the organization’s decision to raise money by selling several notable pieces from its collection have decided to withdraw a lawsuit filed last week to block the sale. The founders, Heiner Friedrich and Fariha de Menil Friedrich, said in a statement through their lawyers Tuesday morning that while they consider the sale “utterly wrong” and “against Dia’s mission,” the foundation is “our precious child, and we do not wish to continue to oppose it through legal action.”
ORIGINAL POST: Sotheby’s Nov. 13, 2013 evening sale of Post War and Contemporary art in New York includes nine works by Cy Twombly, six of which are being sold by the Dia Foundation. The most significant lot is Poems to the Sea, a twenty-four part work on paper. This comes seventeen years after the sale of Twombly’s other epic series on paper, Letter of Resignation, sold by Christie’s in London for £430,500 ($705,460) against an estimate of £200,000 – £300,000. Poems to the Sea and Letter of Resignation are works of great consequence and import in Twombly’s career. They are also mythical and intoxicating. As the Christie’s catalogue noted of the work in that earlier sale:
Completed in Rome in 1967, Letter of Resignation is generally considered to be one of the most sustained and ambitious series on paper undertaken by Twombly. It ranks alongside his earlier Poems to the Sea in its supreme blending of senuous painterly nuance and a poetic visual dialogue expressed in a violent whirlwind of scribbles and scratched-out phrases.
Of the present lot, the Sotheby’s catalogue notes:
Widely exhibited internationally for almost half a century, Poems to the Sea has long been recognized as among the artist’s foremost triumphs, and is respected as a critical early touchstone for the subsequent evolution of his entire career. Executed at the beginning of a new chapter in the artist’s life, immersed in the prospect of a permanent existence in his newly adopted Italy, this revered masterpiece sits at the head of Twombly’s lifelong dialogue with the classical past, legends of the gods and the myths of ancient civilization. Permeated with the artist’s utterly inimitable, tremulous handwriting and exigent mark making, Poems to the Sea combines a transcription of immediate lived experience with a fresh reinterpretation of ancient history. Here, immersed in the Mediterranean land and seascapes, Twombly masterfully scribes an epic paean to the Sea itself, extending the spirit of Homeric and Ovidian legend yet by the means of an entirely unprecedented vocabulary.
The next five works are also be sold by the Dia Foundation and the three thereafter come from various collections: