Sotheby’s to Offer Unique Cy Twombly ‘Blackboard’ Painting

Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Sale on 11 May will be led by Cy Twombly’s ‘Untitled (New York City)’ – the only painting from the artist’s famed Blackboard series, executed with blue loops on grey background. This remarkable work was acquired directly from Twombly’s studio in 1968 and has not been seen in public since.

It was acquired by the current owner from the artist’s studio immediately after it was executed in 1968, and has not been seen in public since. Untitled (New York City) is expected to fetch in excess of $40 million; it goes on view at Sotheby’s Los Angeles on 24 March before exhibition in Hong Kong and London.

Cy Twombly Untitled (New York City), 1968 Oil based house paint and wax crayon on canvas.
Cy Twombly Untitled (New York City), 1968 Oil based house paint and wax crayon on canvas. Courtesy Sotheby’s.

Untitled (New York City) is a one-off example of the artist’s most hallowed series of Blackboard paintings through which he forged a new visual language in a period of great convergence in postwar art. However, unlike every other Blackboard painting that bears white loops, in Untitled (New York City) Twombly used a blue, rather than white, wax crayon to create the endless overlapping loops on the wet paint.

At over 28 square feet, the work belongs to the elite group of large-scale works by Twombly that can be found in the world’s great museums including: The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Menil Collection, Houston; and The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.

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