Phillips to Offer $35m Twombly

The Macklowe's monumental $58m Cy Twombly just might have kindled a renewed appetite for the artist's late works as work once owned by Pinault comes to market.

On 15 November, Phillips’ Evening Sale in New York will be feature Cy Twombly’s monumental Untitled, 2005, estimated at $35-45 million. The Untitled work comes from three discrete suites of paintings collectively known as the Bacchus series begun in 2003 and culminating in 2008 when the artist donated three of the monumental works to the Tate Modern, London.

The work on offer was previously owned by collector François Pinault who sold it to the consignor. It is the second-largest canvas from the 2005 series which were exhibited under the collective title Bacchus Psilax Mainomenos

“With the top ten auction prices for works by Cy Twombly having all been set in the past eight years," remarked Jean-Paul Engelen, Phillips President, Americas, and Worldwide Co-Head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, "it’s clear that the market is stronger than ever."

The massive 16-foot wide work comes to market a year after the Macklowe's similarly large 2007 work from a different series, sold for $58.8m. Another 2005 work from the Bacchus series made $46.4m in 2017.

That said, five of the works from the bellwether blackboard series of paintings have sold in the same period peaking. But their prices peaked six and seven years ago when two sold  for around $70m. Since that time, two more have come to market at successively lower prices of $41.6m and a negotiated $38m in May. 

The current work is guaranteed at $35 million. So it will definitely sell. If it sells toward upper end of the market for 21st Century Twombly paintings (or above), we'll know bit more about the strength of his market.


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