Untitled (Gaeta), 1989, By Cy Twombly

Cy Twombly, Untitled (Gaeta), 1989, acrylic and tempera on paper mounted on panel, 80 x 58 5/8 in., exhibited in “Cy Twombly: In Beauty it is finished,” Spring 2018 at Gagosian 21st St.

@wernerherzoghaircut had reblogged this Cy Twombly onto my tumblr dash, and it was so ravishing I had to go back and look at the show it appeared in again.

In March-April 2018, Mark Francis organized a significant show of Twombyl works on paper at Gagosian’s 21st Street site in New York, titled “In Beauty it is finished: Drawings 1951-2008.” The title came from a text element in a work in the show.

Screenshot of Untitled (Gaeta) installed at Gagosian, Spring 2018, via gagosian.com

The thing about Untitled (Gaeta) is how much it looks like a painting here, but how clearly it was a drawing in real life. Or rather, a work on paper; it is a giant, proud sheet floating in a shadowbox frame.

Which feels relevant to the text Twombly inscribed, a fragment of a poem by Archilochus, as translated by Guy Davenport:

ca MAR 20 1989

[a thin ribbon of



3 weeps

4 inclines

5 crash

Here’s an image of Twombly’s marked up copy of Davenport’s Archilochos, Sappho, Alkman — Three Lyric Poets of the Greek Bronze Age, reproduced from Mary Jacobus’ 2016 book, Reading Cy Twombly: Poetry in Paint. Here’s Thierry Greub mentioning another Archilochus fragment used in Twombly’s epic Say Goodbye, Catullus, To The Shores of Asia Minor. Jacobus and many others discuss Twombly’s appreciation of Davenport, but I can’t find any mention of this specific instance. Should I call someone? It’s probably in the CR. Here is poet John Yau reviewing the 2018 show by clapping back at Rosalind Krauss complaining in 1994 that surely, Twombly can’t be serious. As for me, I think I’m convinced: the man loved poetry.