The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts proudly presents Cy Twombly, Morocco, 1952/1953. Currently its only US venue, VMFA brings the exhibition to Virginia from the Musée Yves Saint Laurent in Marrakech, where it premiered in February 2023. This pioneering exhibition charts the early pilgrimage of one of the most influential figures in 20th-century American art. Cy Twombly, Morocco, 1952/1953 captures the artist’s enduring and style-defining fascination with archaeology and the historic landscapes of Morocco through the pages of his sketchbooks, photographs, and two paintings. Archival materials from VMFA’s Margaret R. and Robert M. Freeman Library add depth, contextualizing the artist’s travels and interest in North Africa and the broader Mediterranean region. Its incarnation in Richmond will include a rarely exhibited painting lent exclusively to VMFA by the artist’s son, brought directly from his residence in Italy.

This exhibition is a homecoming of sorts and a by-product of VMFA’s Visual Arts Fellowship Program. Since its establishment in 1940, the program has fostered the creative talents of Virginia’s finest and most promising artists. One such recipient was a young Cy Twombly, a native of Lexington, Virginia, who received funding in the fall of 1952 from a VMFA Fellowship, which he used to support his travels.

Cy Twombly, Morocco, 1952/1953 was curated by Nicola Del Roscio in partnership with the Cy Twombly Foundation and the Fondazione Nicola Del Roscio. The exhibition is organized for VMFA by Valerie Cassel Oliver, Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art.

This exhibition is generously supported by the Ellsworth Kelly Foundation in honor of the artist’s centennial.

Robert Rauschenberg, Untitled [Cy, North Africa (I)], 1952 (detail) ©Robert Rauschenberg Foundation