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Basel hosts first major exhibition of Twombly sculpture

The Kunstmuseum - fine arts museum - in Basel has mounted the first major exhibition of sculptures by Cy Twombly, an American regarded as one of the most important artists of our time.

This content was published on April 14, 2000 - 16:54

The Kunstmuseum - fine arts museum - in Basel has mounted the first major exhibition of sculptures by Cy Twombly, an American regarded as one of the most important artists of our time.

Born in 1928 in Lexington, Virginia, Twombly has exhibited throughout the world as a painter. But until now his sculptures have rarely been on view, and when they were it was usually on a comparatively small scale.

The Basel exhibition is a comprehensive overview with a total of 65 pieces - some on public view for the first time. Apart from loans from the Zurich Kunsthaus and the Menil Collection in Houston, Texas - the only museums with original sculptures by the artist - the works have been lent by private collectors.

Twombly, whose work was and still is much admired by many leading artists, including Jasper Johns, uses everyday materials such as wood, cardboard and wire for his sculptures, covering most of them in a coat of white paint.

His points of reference range from nature and the landscape to themes from ancient mythology, and he has inscribed some sculptures with the lines of great poets.

Light is important to Twombly's work. Kunstmuseum director Katharina Schmidt says: "His sculptures are white, and even when it's a rainy day they are luminous because he has a special way with them. He combines very simple materials to transform them into signs full of meaning and tradition."

The exhibition is the result of close collaboration with the artist, who lives near Rome. After closing in Basel on July 30 it moves to the Menil Collection in Houston, which participated in the planning.

by Richard Dawson

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