The first book to explore the life of Cy Twombly, one of the most important and influential artists of the Twentieth Century
Cy Twombly was a man obsessed with myth and history — including his own. Shuttling between his stunning homes in Italy and the United States, where he perfected his room-size canvases, he managed his public image carefully and rarely gave interviews.
Upon first seeing Twombly’s remarkable paintings, author Joshua Rivkin became obsessed himself with the mysterious artist, and began chasing every lead, big or small — anything that might illuminate who Twombly really was.
Now, after unprecedented archival research and years of interviews, Rivkin has reconstructed Twombly’s life, from his time at the legendary Black Mountain College to his canonization in a 1979 Whitney retrospective; from his heady explorations of Rome in the 1950s with Robert Rauschenberg to the ongoing efforts to shape his legacy after his death.
Including previously unpublished photographs, Chalk presents a more personal and searching type of biography than we’ve ever encountered, and brings to life a more complex Twombly than we’ve ever known.
“This book is a network of glances, an architecture of mirrors and hallways, all in pursuit of a ‘figure in the carpet’ — the mysterious Twombly and the haunting scrawl of his beautiful paintings.” —Alexander Nemerov, author of Soulmaker: The Times of Lewis Hine
“So much more than a study of the life and work of the famously guarded Twombly.” —Lacy Johnson, author of The Other Side
“Joshua Rivkin’s revelatory Chalk performs an archaeology of a life and explores the layers below those we think we already know (or maybe those we never even dreamed existed).” —R. Tripp Evans, author of Grant Wood: A Life