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Artist: Milton Avery, Paintings, Watercolors, and Drawings
Milton Avery’s (1885-1965) brilliant works place him in the front ranks of twentieth century American painters. His unique vision greatly influenced postwar abstract painting and generations of artists.
While Milton Avery’s work is clearly representational, it focuses on color relationships rather than the illusion of depth. Early in his career, critics considered Milton Avery’s work too abstract and radical. When Abstract Expressionism later became dominant on the art scene, Avery’s work was often considered as being too representational. Yet the debt to Avery by his peers -- in particular Mark Rothko and Adolph Gottlieb – is well documented and acknowledged.
Milton Avery delighted in simplified forms and lightly applied flat color and his treatment of paint surface came under close scrutiny. There is little doubt that the horizontal bands with which he divided his canvases into land, sea, and sky provided direction for Mark Rothko’s sensual abstractions. Similarly Adolph Gottlieb found inspiration in Avery’s forms of the 1940’s.
Milton Avery traveled often to paint, mostly to New England with occasional forays to Mexico and Canada. His stylistic tendencies embraced a deliberate lack of finish, combined with humor and an unabashed love of nature.
Perhaps his friend and fellow artist, Mark Rothko said it best:
““Avery is first a great poet. His is the poetry of sheer loveliness, of sheer beauty. Thanks to him this kind of poetry had been able to survive in our time. This alone took great courage in a generation which felt that it could be heard only through the clamor, force and a show of power. But Avery had inner power in which gentleness and silence proved more audible and poignant.”