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Milton Avery

American Painter

Milton Avery Photo

Born: March 7, 1885 - Sand Bar, New York

Died: January 3, 1965 - New York, New York

"I try to construct a picture in which shapes, spaces, colors, form a set of unique relationships, independent of any subject matter. At the same time I try to capture and translate the excitement and emotion aroused in me by the impact with the original idea."

Summary of Milton Avery

A singular artist, Milton Avery defied stylistic trends and charted his own way through American Modernism. A quiet man who did not necessarily fit the romantic, bohemian notion of the modern, avant-garde artist, Avery boldly used color and abstracted forms to convey a unique vision of the American scene. Friends with the young Abstract Expressionists, Avery imparted his unique vision of the power of color to them, and in turn, he seemed intrigued by their explorations of the power of ambiguous, abstract compositions.

While often overlooked in the annals of American art, Avery was a touchstone not only for the Abstract Expressionists and later Color Field Painters, but also for more contemporary painters, like Peter Doig, who emphasize color to convey the moods of places and memories. While his reputation was often overshadowed, Avery's art seems newly fresh again.

Key Ideas

Steeped in the color experiments of European modernists, such as the Fauves and German Expressionists, Avery used color in sharp and subtle ways, creating visual patterns that both stimulate and soothe the viewer. Eschewing the bravura brushstrokes of the French and German artists, Avery's color takes on a more timeless and serene feel.
Avery abstracted forms to their simplest shapes and component parts,leaving out extraneous details. His aim in doing so was to convey the idea, the essence, of the object, whether a model or a landscape. While many of his compositions could be quite abstract, he insisted on representing the real world of things and people.
Milton Avery Photo

Milton Avery was born on March, 7 1885 in Sand Bank, New York. His family was working class - his father was a tanner - and he was one of four siblings. When he was thirteen the Averys moved to Wilson Station, Connecticut.

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