Cy Twombly, ‘Untitled’, 1960, Sotheby's: Contemporary Art Day Auction

From the Catalogue

Among other doodles and pictographs (flowers, mists, clouds, and mountains), Twombly's horizontal grid seems to represent the formal constraints of the sonnet, or perhaps a schematic index of the poetry he was reading at the time. Farther down, at the grid's foot, is the question: "Where's the poet?"—not Twombly's question, but the title of an unfinished fragment by Keats, written in 1818 and never published in his lifetime: "Where's the poet? Show him! Show him! / Muses nine, that I may know him!" The ekphrastic question (how show the poet in art?) is repeated at lower right, above Twombly's signature, the place, and the date (Ischia, 1960)." — Mary Jacobus, Reading Cy Twombly: Poetry in Paint, Princeton 2016, p. 190

Courtesy of Sotheby's

Signature: signed, dated Ischia Aug 1960 and inscribed Where is the Poet?

Nicola Del Roscio, Cy Twombly Drawings, Catalogue Raisonné Volume 2: 1956-1960, Munich 2012, cat. no. 206, p. 248, illustrated in color
Mary Jacobus, Reading Cy Twombly: Poetry in Paint, Princeton 2016, fig. 7.3, p. 190, illustrated (detail)

Galleria La Tartaruga, Rome
Harold Diamond, New York (acquired from the above by 1977)
Acquavella Galleries, New York
The Lone Star Foundation, Inc., New York (acquired from the above in January 1978)
Dia Art Foundation (acquired from the above in August 1980)
Sotheby's, New York, 14 November 2013, Lot 181 (consigned by the above)
Acquired from the above sale by the present owner

About Cy Twombly

Cy Twombly emerged in the 1950s, developing a characteristic painting style of expressive drips and active, scribbled, and scratched lines. “My line is childlike but not childish,” he once said. “It is very difficult to fake…to get that quality you need to project yourself into the child's line. It has to be felt.” Early influences included Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Jackson Pollock, and Robert Motherwell, but more formative would be his relationships with Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns, along with whom he would distance himself from the dominance of Abstract Expressionism. Twombly's work also appeared in one of the first exhibitions to explore ideas of Minimalism—“Black, White, and Grey” (1964)—along with Agnes Martin, Frank Stella, and Andy Warhol. In addition to his paintings, which were sometimes dismissed as "high-art graffiti," he produced sculptures assembled from found objects, clay, and plaster, painted white to suggest an affinity to Classicism.

American, 1928-2011, Lexington, Virginia, based in New York and Rome