Thursday, 7 July 2011

The day I met Cy Twombly

I met Cy Twombly once in 2002, in Edinburgh. I was working at the Assembly Rooms, promoting Festival shows. One sunny morning I bounced up to a chap sitting having a coffee in the Lane Bar. Talking quickly and animatedly, I told him - in rather more detail than he would presumably have liked - about the show. Now I was always pretty good at promoting shows to people, but the lone gent sipping a coffee at 10am tends to be an irascible species. He nodded and smiled politely, and thanked me for the flyer.

"By the way," he continued, "I have a show of my own on at the moment. You must take a flyer of mine." And with that, he handed me a large white flyer on posh white card, and I left the poor man in peace.

I remember raising an eyebrow as his show was on at Inverleith House - so he must have been somebody. I also remember that he had an unusual name. Then I forgot all about it.

It wasn't until years later that I saw the name again - a Twombly painting was on sale, estimated price £2 million. By sheer chance (and being painfully untidy) I still had the flyer. Sure enough, this was my guy.

To my knowledge I've never seen a Cy Twombly painting "live". But Cy Twombly, dubbed the greatest "post-Abstract Expressionist", who died three days ago aged 83, will always fill a little place in my memory.

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