Cy Twombly Late Paintings 2003-2011

Nela Pavlouskova

The first comprehensive analysis of Cy Twombly’s final years of creation, including the series The Last Paintings, completed just before his death in 2011


Here is the first detailed analysis of the late work of Cy Twombly, including all the painting cycles from the last nine years of the artist’s life. Beginning in 2003, when Twombly was seventy-five years old, a fresh surge of creativity brought new energy into his art, and he expanded on themes and modes of expression from throughout his career.

Characterized by monumentality and flamboyant color, these works often use large formats to accommodate broad and sweeping motion. Sometimes their surfaces are dense and heavily worked; sometimes they are expressively fluid, incorporating chance elements such as extravagant drips of paint. Favored motifs such as ships, flowers, and mythological references are revisited in new contexts and allowed to interact in unusual ways. Like his earlier work, however, these images continue to engage viewers in an active dialogue, resisting easy interpretation and offering up multiple layers of potential meaning.

Concluding with the series known as The Last Paintings, completed only a few months before his death in 2011, Cy Twombly: Late Paintings 2003-2011 comprises a landmark monograph in which the intensity of what might be called his cumulative works is vividly preserved.


Cy Twombly …was always much influenced by graffiti, calligraphy, action painting. His work can recall Jackson Pollock or Franz Kline. These last paintings are impressive for their boldness, their daring color combinations, their rolling or stabbing brushwork.

— New York Times Books Review

Reprising themes that span his entire sixty-year career, the nicely printed illustrations demonstrate his undiminished vigor and commitment to a singular combination of outside painting and intimate rumination.

— Bookforum


Nela Pavlouskova


Czech art historian Nela Pavlouskova studied at the University of Paris 1 Sorbonne, where she wrote her PhD thesis on the work of Cy Twombly. She lives in Paris.