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    CY TWOMBLY (1928-2011)Untitled (Bacchus 1st Version II) courtesy  CHRISTIE’S IMAGES LIMITED 2023

    This 2004 work by Cy Twombly comes up as a highlight at Christie’s 21st century evening sale in New York on November 7. The work comes from the artist’s celebrated Bacchus series which stands as a culmination of Twombly’s fifty years of painterly practice. The iconic looping theme had been integral to his body of work since the meandering scrawl of his 1960s Blackboard paintings. The character of Bacchus (or Dionysus in Greek), god of revelry and wine, is a notable presence, employed repeatedly throughout Twombly’s career. The character is first referenced in his 1975 collage Dionysus, then again in a 1977 series on the theme of Bacchanalia, and once more in a 1981 triptych Bacchus.

    The 2003 – 2008 Bacchus series is broken into three distinct sets. Untitled (Bacchus 1st Version II) comes from the first and is one of six portrait-format paintings Twombly completed in 2004, not exhibited until 2008 at the Red October Chocolate Factory in Moscow. This set includes the only works with text. Four, including the present example, are inscribed with ‘Psilax’ translating to “the Giver of Wings” a surname attributed to Dionysus. This work is estimated at $18. – $25 million.

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