Miss Lucy’s 3 Day (Doll) House Party

Donald Baechler’s invitation to Miss Lucy’s 3 Day (Doll) House Party, March 1993, from a screenprinted edition of “around 20” by Cy Twombly, selling this week at Stair Galleries

It is not clear the specific circumstances during his study abroad in Rome in 1988 under which rich, Southern twink Douglas Bassett Andrews met Cy Twombly, then 60, but they became close friends. “I think it was the Southern connection,” Andrews once told The New York Times.

For part of the winters of early 1992 and 1993, Twombly took a house near Andrews’ mother, furniture heiress Lucy Bassett Andrews, in Jupiter Island, Florida, and the boys would make flea market runs in Miss Lucy’s car, gathering material for Twombly’s sculptures. “I said, ‘Cy what is that junk you put in the back of my car?'” she once recalled to The Palm Beach Daily News. “He said, ‘Miss Lucy, you’re going to be sorry you said that when you see it at MOMA.'”

And then there were three dollhouses: this one had tiny paintings by Donald Baechler (top) and Phillip Taafe and Alessandro Twombly (bottom), via Lighthouse ArtCenter’s 2021 show

When he saw Miss Lucy working on a dollhouse for her granddaughter, Twombly offered to make art for it, and to have his and Douglas’s artist friends make art for it, too. If she threw an opening. Cy made invitations, Miss Lucy rented a couple of houses and a boat, and fifteen artists came down over the first weekend in March of 1993 for the install and the party. One was Donald Baechler, who made two 4×6 inch paintings, of a onesie and a thumb. He died last year, and now his three-sheet invitation of silkscreened pink is for sale this week at Stair Galleries.

Twombly’s own contributions are loopy drawings that feel of a piece with his designs for the curtain of the Opéra Bastille, which he made in 1986.

Cy Twombly, Sans titre, 1986, 234 x 326 mm, pastel, graphite, and ink on paper, one of
six studies for the Bastille curtain, purchased in 1989 by Centre Georges Pompidou

Twombly and Tatiana Franchetti’s son Alessandro also made paintings, for a room Miss Lucy staged with a dining set.

Alessandro Twombly paintings in the Andrews dollhouse dining room.

By the time the party died down and Twombly’s time on Jupiter Island came to an end, he got a house for the Spring in Lexington, Virginia, where he grew up, and where his father taught at Washington & Lee University, and where Miss Lucy’s father had been a trustee, and where Twombly received an honorary doctorate that Fall. So maybe it was the Southern connection, at least a bit.

Cy Twombly: Sculpture, 2011-2012 installation shot, with Jupiter Island, 1992, the second work from the right, nearest the door. Image: MoMA

The Twombly Foundation chronology says the artist made sixteen sculptures during his visits to Jupiter Island. None of them was included in his retrospective in 1994, but MoMA did acquire one in 2010. Douglas got the dollhouses.

update: wow, sold for $3,500 before the buyer’s premium, 6x the high estimate.

Big Names, Tiny Art, PR on the occasion of the Norton Museum’s 2017 exhibition of the Andrews’ dollhouses [nytimes]
How Cy Twombly, Collector Pal, Filled Mom’s Dollhouses with Original Art [pbdailynews]
Previously, related: The Cy Twombly Sculpture Is a Series of Tubes