Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Cy Twombly Drawing lost in NYC cab

Cy Twombly drawing

Cy Twombly, Untitled (2-sided drawing), 1957, graphite on paper, 13 3/4 x 19 in., signed and dated in pencil Cy Twombly, Roma, May 57

The above scribbly drawing by Cy Twombly was being taken by someone to the framing shop, when they either left it in the taxi or somehow lost it getting out of the cab somewhere in NYC.

The owner is offering $5,000 as a reward for anyone who finds it.

I am far from being a Twombly fan, but let's be honest... unless you are a big Twombly fan, the chances of anyone recognizing the pencil scribbles on the paper as an important work of art, even in a cultured city like NYC, are pretty slim to none. The fact that it is signed and dated in pencil may prove its saving grace, if someone did find it and took the time to actually examine it.

This is yet another reason why signatures are important when it comes to artwork, and begs the question as to why this is such a hard issue to grasp for so many artists who never sign their work.

If you had no idea as to the provenance or origin of this drawing and saw it, most of us would discard it as someone trying to sharpen up his pencil by running it back and forth across the paper a few times. Add a signature, location and date and immediately, with a little art history behind you, the finder may have a change to realize that he/she just found something very valuable as art.

But I still wonder if the cabbie just threw it out at the end of his shift when he was cleaning his cab. It wouldn't be the first time that someone thought that what some consider art, others see as trash.