Untitled by CY TWOMBLY, 1968 [New York City]

Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Untitled by CY TWOMBLY, 1968 [New York City]

Untitled, 1968 [New York City] Estimated To Realize In Excess Of $60 million.

Untitled by CY TWOMBLY, 1968 [New York City]

Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction in New York 11 November 2015 will feature Untitled, 1968 [New York City] - a seminal example of Cy Twombly’s celebrated series of ‘Blackboard’ paintings from the collection of Los Angeles philanthropist, Audrey Irmas. Proceeds will benefit The Audrey Irmas Foundation for Social Justice, which supports causes championed by her and her late husband, including Wilshire Boulevard Temple who will receive $30 million from the sale. The funds will launch the campaign for the Temple’s new building, designed by the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) led by Rem Koolhaas, and to be named The Audrey Irmas Pavilion. The building will be OMA’s first commission from a religious institution, and the firm’s first cultural building in California. Untitled, 1968 [New York City] will be on view at Sotheby’s Los Angeles from 24-25 September before exhibitions in London and New York.

“The date, scale, and distinguished provenance of Untitled, 1968 [New York City] place it as one of the most important examples of Cy Twobmly’s celebrated ‘Blackboard’ series remaining in private hands,” commented Anthony Grant, Sotheby’s Vice Chairman, Americas. “It is always a pleasure to welcome spectacular works of art back to Sotheby’s – we last offered the painting in 1990 as part of the Saatchi Collection. The brilliance of the artist's gestural genius is on full display as the written form dissolves into a nuanced grey background. All of us who know and care about the arts in Los Angeles have benefited from the extraordinary generosity of Audrey Irmas and her late husband Sydney, and so we are thrilled to be offering this Twombly masterpiece to benefit such a wonderful cause.”

Mrs Audrey Irmas commented: “I have loved living with this magnificent work by Cy Twombly for 25 years. Similarly, Wilshire Boulevard Temple has been an important part of my family for generations, and when I learned of the vision for the new building, and how it would enrich the wider community, I decided that now was the right time to share my good fortune with others. It was a difficult decision to part with such a treasured work of art but the idea of bringing joy to so many makes me incredibly happy.”

Rabbi Leder noted: "Audrey is transforming private art into public art in a very powerful way. The proceeds from a visionary painting that hung in her home, the inner circle of her private life, will now fund public art in the form of a contemporary architectural masterpiece designed by OMA, led by Rem Koolhaas, on Los Angeles’ most important boulevard, providing inspiration to all of Los Angeles. What a selfless and uplifting example she is for each and every one of us."

Untitled, 1968 [New York City]

While in Rome in 1966, Cy Twombly abruptly deviated from his Baroque Paintings, characterized by rich, colorful compositions, and began experimenting with lyrical calligraphy in grey-scale. Made in New York and known as ‘Blackboard’ paintings, this iconic series combines the figurative and the abstract, with rhythmic, illegible script in chalk-white crayon dancing along a cool-grey backdrop. The present work was acquired by Sydney M. and Audrey Irmas from Sotheby’s in 1990 where it was sold on behalf of the Saatchi Collection. Dating from the year in which Twombly had his first museum retrospective, Untitled, 1968 [New York City] is one of the few ‘Blackboard’ Paintings from 1968 remaining in private hands. Comparable works of art are displayed at the MOCA in Los Angeles, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. and the Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst in Germany.

Image above: Cy Twombly, Untitled, 1968 [New York City], 68 x 90 in. (172.7 x 228.6 cm), estimated to realize in excess of $60 million.

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