Cy Twombly: 5 Things to Know

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The American painter died in Rome on Tuesday at 83.

American painter Cy Twombly died Tuesday in Rome at 83. While the Gagosian Gallery, which represented him, did not cite the cause of death, it was widely reported online that he suffered from cancer. Here are a few things you may not know about the painter.

1. His large-scale paintings and drawings split critics early on, who questioned his use of graffiti and calligraphy. But he received commercial acclaim. Less than two months ago, his "Untitled" painting sold for $15.2 million at Christie's in New York.

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2. He moved to Italy in the 1957, which the New York Times called "the most symbolic of his idiosyncrasies" in reference to the trend of artists moving from Europe to the U.S. at the time. In 1959, he wed Tatia Franchetti, the sister of his patron Giorgio Franchetti.

3, He is the only contemporary artist invited to paint the ceiling of the Salle des Bronzes in the Louvre, an honor he received last year. HIs work was an abstract composition with the names of classical Greek sculptors of the fourth century.

4. He was born in Lexington, Va. in 1928. His father, who was also nicknamed Cy after the baseball player Cy Young, pitched for the Chicago White Sox. After graduating from Lexington High School in 1946, he attended the Darlington School in Rome, Georgia, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., at the Art Students League in New York and Black Mountain College in Asheville, NC.

5. He worked as a cryptologist, deciphering hidden messages, in the U.S, military in the early 1950s.