Cy Twombly

Souvenir de L'lle des Saintes (1979)

About this artwork

'Souvenir de L’île des Saintes' (Memory of the Islands of The Saints) is a suite of eight works on paper and represents the artist’s first experiments with watercolour. Twombly made the work at the end of 1979 while he was staying on the French Caribbean islands of Les Saintes. The title sheet reflects his interest in conflating the act of writing with the act of drawing. Here, the work’s date and title become part of the sequence of images. On subsequent sheets, vibrant daubs of colour are gradually transformed into cloud-like washes, conveying the transience of memory.

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  • title: Souvenir de L'lle des Saintes
  • accession number: AR00181
  • artist: Cy TwomblyAmerican (1928 - 2011)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Work on paper
  • medium: Watercolour
  • date created: 1979
  • measurements: 25.20 x 28.70 cm
  • credit line: ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
  • copyright: © Courtesy and copyright Cy Twombly Foundation
This artwork is part of Artist Rooms

Cy Twombly

Cy Twombly

Twombly emerged as an influential artist in the wake of Abstract Expressionism. Born in Lexington, Virginia, he studied art in Boston, New York and the hugely influential Black Mountain College, which had the greatest impact on his artistic development. Just as Pop Art and Minimalism were exploding onto the scene in America, Twombly moved to Rome, where he has remained ever since. Composed of child-like scribbles and graffiti-like use of paint, his work is often described as elusive and to many it seems unfathomable. He references nature, literature, classical history and mythology through poetic, gestural painting and abstracted sculptures. Twombly’s compositions blur the relationship between painting and drawing and emphasise the action of mark making.