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Including previously unpublished photographs, Chalk presents a more personal and searching type of biography than we’ve ever encountered, and brings to life a more complex Twombly than we’ve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.
JOSHUA RIVKIN’s poems and essays have appeared in the New Yorker, Slate, the Southern Review, the Virginia Quarterly Review, and Best New Poets. A former Fulbright Scholar in Rome, Italy, as well as a Stegner Fellow in poetry, he has received awards from the Sustainable Arts Foundation, Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and Ucross Foundation. He teaches creative writing for Stanford’s Continuing Studies and lives in Salt Lake City.