Cy Twombly died yesterday at 83 years old. He was one one of those great American artists who was not particularly successful until later in life (whatever successful means to the folks writing the articles). He spent a lot of his coming up years running around with the likes of Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, and certainly didn't reach their level of acclaim until much later. Viewers and critics tried too hard, or didn't try hard enough, to "get" his work, with it's squiggles and erasures and cryptic scrawl. As an art student in the early 2000's I guess I caught Mr. Twombly at just the right moment because it had never occurred to me that he was anything less than a great and important artist until reading a couple of articles today and hearing a brief interview with the director of the Menil Collection (which houses several of his works) on NPR yesterday.
If creating the art you want to create while living in Rome for most of your 83 years on the planet qualifies as less than successful, then long live the underdog! You did a great job, Mr. Twombly.
Here's an image of a couple of his works at the Cy Twombly Gallery at the Menil, which I borrowed from their website. There's a good article discussing the artist and his work on this page.