My Favourite Painting: Sheherazade Goldsmith

Sheherazade Goldsmith chooses an unusual abstract photograph that challenges what we mean by art.

 Sheherazade Goldsmith on Light Flowers Gaeta by Cy Twombly

‘I love the fragility of Cy’s photographic work. The meandering hint of light and soft focus take you on a journey of interpretation, just as a novel might.’

Sheherazade Goldsmith is the founder and designer of the fine jewellery brand Loquet London.

John McEwen on Cy Twombly’s work

Frank Sinatra sang of New York, ‘If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere’, but Cy Twombly was exceptional in abandoning New York for Italy, just as it succeeded Paris as the Mecca of the post-war art world. Born and raised in Lexington, Virginia, he was briefly taught by the exiled Spanish artist Pierre Daura, once of the Parisian avant-garde. Not the least of Daura’s lessons was that personal fame as an artist was of no importance.

It was not that Twombly had not tasted New York success. There, as a scholarship student, he met his lifelong friend, the ever-experimental and eclectic Robert Rauschenberg, three years his senior, intellectual motor of the next, post-Abstract-Expressionist school of painters. It was travelling with Rauschenberg that introduced him to Italy, where he settled in Rome. Virginia, the Old Dominion, was ‘a good start for Italy’, he found.

His paintings, initially depending as much on drawing as paint, were witty, elegant, instinctive, poetic — as were his sculptures and photographs, initially private activities. The latter were not exhibited until the 1990s, by which time, after years of American neglect, he was globally recognised as a modern master. He began with a pin-hole camera, later, as here, preferring a polaroid.

To analyse Twombly’s art is to dissect a butterfly. He avoided interviews and publicity. His photographs reflect what caught his attention or matched his thought: ‘I have my pace and way of living and I’m not looking for something.’

Later, some of his often monumental canvases appeared influenced by images such as this scattering of flowers. If it verges on the abstract and is tinged with melancholy, so be it. The viewer can decide. Gaeta was his country house.


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