Dividing his time between New York and Rome, Twombly developed a global culture, and his fascination for the graffiti on the ancient monuments discorrelated him from time. He endeavored to meet the subconscious of the heroes from the great passionate affairs of antiquity.
In 1966, his gray paintings open up a completely unexplored field of artistic expression. The technique is to carefully prepare a surface of gray paint, then to cover it with an uninterrupted series of loops forming an illegible and meaningless proto-writing, juxtaposed as in a scalp.
This new style allows the artist to explore graphology in its full extent, dominated by reflex and spontaneity, revealing the character, and that even the most intelligent of human beings fails to control.
These artworks are described under the generic term Blackboards chosen by art critics, not by the artist.
Located in New York and executed in 1970, a blackboard 145 x 178 cm in nervous line with jerky points and backtrackings was sold for $ 17.5M including premium by Sotheby's on May 9, 2012. It is again for sale, by Christie's in London on February 11, lot 26.
Between these two sales, the interest of art connoisseurs to Twombly has grown considerably. A blackboard 156 x 190 cm, also made in 1970, in a quiet and regular pseudo-script, was sold for $ 70M including premium by Christie's on November 12, 2014.