Cy Twombly is a great painter, but sometimes it seems even more accurate to describe him as a great writer. He writes of many things: his love of other great painting and writing (and sculpture and architecture), his love of nature and history and of the places where all these things intersect most intensely for him.– Roberta Smith, 1987
Twombly’s (American, 1928-2011) unique relationship to his media and wide ranging sources of inspiration, from ancient philosophers and natural phenomenon to systems of knowledge, mythology, poetry and literature has been noted by numerous critics and historians. The artist’s portfolio of ten color lithographs entitled Natural History, Part I, Mushrooms, donated in 2018 to the Gund Gallery Collection by Graham and Ann Gund, feature scientific illustrations of mushrooms with Twombly’s recognizable visual language of notations, gestures and personal meditations, on and between collaged graph and tracing papers. The prints were produced in 1974 after one of many visits to close friend and fellow artist Robert Rauschenberg at his Captiva Island, Florida home and over two decades of extended time living and working in Rome.