Skip to content

Six Twombly’s From Dia Among Nine at Sotheby’s Nov. 2013 Evening Contemporary Sale in New York-UPDATED

October 31, 2013
Lot 20. CY TWOMBLY, 1928 - 2011, POEMS TO THE SEA (i), (vii) and (xxiv) signed and dated Sperlonga July 1959 on the reverse oil-based house paint, pencil and wax crayon on paper, in twenty-four parts each: dimensions variable: 12 x 12 1/8 in. to 13 5/8 x 12 1/8 in. 30.3 x 31 cm. to 34.6 x 31 cm. Estimate: $6-8 million

Lot 20. CY TWOMBLY, 1928 – 2011, POEMS TO THE SEA
(i), (vii) and (xxiv) signed and dated Sperlonga July 1959 on the reverse
oil-based house paint, pencil and wax crayon on paper, in twenty-four parts
each: dimensions variable: 12 x 12 1/8 in. to 13 5/8 x 12 1/8 in. 30.3 x 31 cm. to 34.6 x 31 cm.
Estimate: $6-8 million. (click on image to enlarge) This lot sold for $21,669,000 (price inclusive of buyer’s premium).

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.

Lot 20. Detail.

Lot 20. Detail. (click on image to enlarge)

Lot 20. Detail.

Lot 20. Detail. (click on image to enlarge)

The next five works are also be sold by the Dia Foundation and the three thereafter come from various collections:

Lot 32. CY TWOMBLY, 1928 - 2011, IDILLI signed with initials and dated 7 Aug 76 on left sheet, titled on right sheet collage, oil and wax crayon, pencil and tape on paper, in three parts left: 58 1/2 x 51 5/8 in. 155.5 x 137.5 cm. center: 29 7/8 x 22 1/4 in. 75.9 x 56.5 cm. right: 29 3/4 x 22 1/4 in. 75.6 x 56.5 cm. Estimate: $1.5-2 million.

Lot 32. CY TWOMBLY, 1928 – 2011, IDILLI
signed with initials and dated 7 Aug 76 on left sheet, titled on right sheet
collage, oil and wax crayon, pencil and tape on paper, in three parts, left: 58 1/2 x 51 5/8 in. 155.5 x 137.5 cm. center: 29 7/8 x 22 1/4 in. 75.9 x 56.5 cm. right: 29 3/4 x 22 1/4 in. 75.6 x 56.5 cm.
Estimate: $1.5-2 million. This lot sold for $2,517,000 (price inclusive of buyer’s premium).

Lot 18. CY TWOMBLY, 1928 - 2011, UNTITLED signed with initials and dated 76 on the right sheet collage, oil and wax crayon, pencil and tape on paper, in two parts left: 59 7/8 x 52 3/8 in. right: 32 1/4 x 24 3/8 in. left: 152 x 133 cm. right: 82 x 62 cm. Estimate: $650,000-850,000.

Lot 18. CY TWOMBLY, 1928 – 2011, UNTITLED
signed with initials and dated 76 on the right sheet
collage, oil and wax crayon, pencil and tape on paper, in two parts
left: 59 7/8 x 52 3/8 in. right: 32 1/4 x 24 3/8 in.
left: 152 x 133 cm. right: 82 x 62 cm.
Estimate: $650,000-850,000. This lot sold for $629,000 (price inclusive of buyer’s premium).

Lot 23. CY TWOMBLY, 1928 - 2011, SEGUSO signed with initials, titled and dated 76 twice watercolor, crayon and pencil on paper  40 3/4 x 52 1/2 in. 103.5 x 133.4 cm. Estimate: $600,000-800,000.

Lot 23. CY TWOMBLY, 1928 – 2011, SEGUSO
signed with initials, titled and dated 76 twice
watercolor, crayon and pencil on paper
40 3/4 x 52 1/2 in. 103.5 x 133.4 cm.
Estimate: $600,000-800,000. (click on image to enlarge) This lot sold for $1,061,000 (price inclusive of buyer’s premium).

Lot 57. CY TWOMBLY, 1928 - 2011, VENUS titled; signed and dated Rome 1962 on the reverse pencil, colored pencil, and watercolor on paper: 27 1/2 x 19 1/2 in. 70 x 50 cm. Estimate: $350,000-450,000.

Lot 57. CY TWOMBLY, 1928 – 2011, VENUS
titled; signed and dated Rome 1962 on the reverse
pencil, colored pencil, and watercolor on paper: 27 1/2 x 19 1/2 in. 70 x 50 cm.
Estimate: $350,000-450,000. This lot sold for $317,000 (price inclusive of buyer’s premium).

Lot 53. CY TWOMBLY, 1928 - 2011, UNTITLED signed and dated 1963; signed and dedicated on the reverse pencil and crayon on paper: 19 3/4 x 27 1/2 in. 50 x 70 cm. Estimate: $300,000-400,000.

Lot 53. CY TWOMBLY, 1928 – 2011, UNTITLED
signed and dated 1963; signed and dedicated on the reverse
pencil and crayon on paper: 19 3/4 x 27 1/2 in. 50 x 70 cm.
Estimate: $300,000-400,000. (click on image to enlarge) This lot sold for $281,000 (price inclusive of buyer’s premium).

Lot 42. CY TWOMBLY, 1928 - 2011, UNTITLED oil, graphite and colored crayon on paper laid on canvas: 27 1/2 x 34 5/8 in. 70 x 88 cm. Executed in 1971. Estimate: $2.5-3.5 million.

Lot 42. CY TWOMBLY, 1928 – 2011, UNTITLED
oil, graphite and colored crayon on paper laid on canvas: 27 1/2 x 34 5/8 in. 70 x 88 cm.
Executed in 1971.
Estimate: $2.5-3.5 million. (click on image to enlarge) This lot was withdrawn.

Lot 56. CY TWOMBLY, 1928 - 2011, BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAINS TRANSFIXED BY A ROMAN PIAZZA titled oil paint, wax crayon and lead pencil on canvas: 58 1/2 x 71 in. 148.6 x 180.3 cm. Executed in 1962. Estimate: $2.5-3.5 million.

Lot 56. CY TWOMBLY, 1928 – 2011, BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAINS TRANSFIXED BY A ROMAN PIAZZA
titled, oil paint, wax crayon and lead pencil on canvas: 58 1/2 x 71 in. 148.6 x 180.3 cm.
Executed in 1962.
Estimate: $2.5-3.5 million. (click on image to enlarge) This lot failed to sell.

Lot 33. CY TWOMBLY, 1928 - 2011, UNTITLED (THE MATHEMATICAL DREAM OF ASHURBANIPAL) initialed CT, numbered 2/3 and inscribed Gerbrüder Jäger, Pfäffikon SZ bronze: 41 1/2 x 20 3/4 x 20 3/4 in. 105.5 x 52.7 x 52.7 cm. Executed in 2009, this work is number two from an edition of three. Estimate: $2-3 million.

Lot 33. CY TWOMBLY, 1928 – 2011, UNTITLED (THE MATHEMATICAL DREAM OF ASHURBANIPAL)
initialed CT, numbered 2/3 and inscribed Gerbrüder Jäger, Pfäffikon SZ
bronze: 41 1/2 x 20 3/4 x 20 3/4 in. 105.5 x 52.7 x 52.7 cm.
Executed in 2009, this work is number two from an edition of three.
Estimate: $2-3 million. This lot sold for $2,285,000 (price inclusive of buyer’s premium).

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: