American painter Cy Twombly dies at 83

Cy Twombly

Rome, Italy (James Patton)

Celebrated American painter Cy Twombly, whose large-scale paintings featuring scribbles, graffiti and references to ancient empires fetched millions at auction, died Tuesday. He was 83.

Twombly, who had cancer, died in Rome, said Eric Mezil, director of the Lambert Collection in Avignon, France, where the artist opened a show in June. Twombly had lived in Italy since 1957.

“A great American painter who deeply loved old Europe has just left us,” French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand said in a statement. “His work was deeply marked by his passion for Greek and Roman antiquity, and its mythology, which for him was a source of bottomless inspiration.”

Twombly was known for his abstract works combining painting and drawing techniques, repetitive lines, scribbles and the use of words and graffiti. He is often linked to the legendary American artists Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, whom he met as a student in New York in the early 1950s.

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