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This first biography of Cy Twombly, one of the most important and least understood American artists of the 20th Century, explores the enduring mysteries of his work and life.

About the Author

Joshua Rivkin's poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in the New Yorker, Slate, Southern Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Best New Poets, and elsewhere. A former Fulbright Fellow in Rome, Italy, he has most recently worked as a poetry editor at the Los Angeles Review of Books and a Resident Associate at the National Humanities Center in Research in Triangle Park, NC.


"A creative portal into the life of the enigmantic, reclusive, modernist painter... Rivkin's first book--impeccably researched, lavishly and lovingly written, insightful and discerning--is a joy to read." --*starred* KIRKUS REVIEWS "Rivkin brings his sensibility and prowess as a poet and essayist to this unusually reflective, stealthily dramatic inquiry into the enigmatic life and work of artist Cy Twombly... An extraordinarily involving, gorgeously written chronicle of art, controversy, fame, and the perils of biography." --*starred* BOOKLIST "Reviled when young, revered when old, the elusive Twombly surprisingly emerges in this fascinating biography, which traces the difficulties of tracking down the man as thoroughly as it fills in the blurred, half-erased likeness. This is the record of a heroic journey of discovery." --acclaimed author and memoirist Edmund White "Joshua Rivkin's sensitive eye and investigative ambition expand and enrich our understanding of Cy Twombly's genius in this tenderly rendered biography."--Rachel Corbett, author of You Must Change Your Life "So much more than a study of the life and work of the famously guarded Twombly. At once candid and tender, meditative and unsparing . . . this book is a gift to Twombly devotees and newcomers alike--as imbued with beauty, genius, and vitality as the artist's work that is its subject." --Lacy Johnson, author of The Other Side "Joshua Rivkin's revelatory Chalk performs an archaeology of a life and explores the layers below those we think we already know (or maybe those we never even dreamed existed)." --R. Tripp Evans, author of Grant Wood: A Life "This book is a network of glances, an architecture of mirrors and hallways, all in pursuit of a 'figure in the carpet'--the mysterious Twombly and the haunting scrawl of his beautiful paintings." --Alexander Nemerov, Chair of the Department of Art and Art History at Stanford University and author of Soulmaker: The Times of Lewis Hine

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