YARES ART is pleased to present "Fifty Paintings / Fifty Years", an exhibition commemorating the Gallery’s half-century relationship with the Estate of the American painter Milton Avery. The show includes works from the full expanse of Avery’s prolific career, beginning in the 1930s and continuing until the year before his death in 1965—all of which demonstrate Avery’s integration of European modernism and American vernacular painting. Lauded by fellow artists from early on in his career, Avery to this day remains revered for his poetical approach to color and facility for navigating between figuration and abstraction.
Throughout his life, Avery traveled to Massachusetts, Vermont, Mexico, and Canada, among other places. In these locales, Avery immersed himself in studies of the landscape, working in the watercolor medium and translating these images to large-scale oil paintings upon his return to New York. The sea, in particular, was a recurring theme, as evidenced in works such as Lone Bather (1960)—a moving testament to Avery’s dexterous, often tender approach to figuration. In this composition, a woman stands at the edge of the shore, her shoulder raised apprehensively, as if in simultaneous deference to the strength of and enrapture with the beauty of the ocean before her.
Sunset Sea and White Gull (both 1958), contemporaneous works included in the exhibition, are other strong examples of Avery’s ability to deploy color to reflect the energy of the natural world. This extends beyond seascapes: in the more bucolic Bleached Field (1963), intensely saturated passages of red punctuate the otherwise negative space in a restrained way, facilitating lyricism.
Milton Clark Avery was born in Altmar, New York, in 1885, and later moved to Connecticut and then to New York City. He studied at the Art Students League of NewYork in the 1920s and ’30s and spent several stints as a resident at the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire and Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, New York. In 1929, the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC, was the first institution to purchase one of his paintings, and in 1944 hosted his first solo museum exhibition. Avery passed away in New York City at the age of 79.
His work is included in many of the world’s most prestigious museums, including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; Art Institute of Chicago; The Barnes Foundation, Merrion; The Cleveland Museum of Art; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Philadelphia Museum of Art; The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
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