Wednesday, February 19, 2020

An Icon of American Painting

Hot Moon by Milton Avery
From Artsy:
Known to many as the “American Fauvist,” Avery painted the world around him––his wife, Sally; daughter, March; and the landscapes they traveled to––in broad planes of poetically juxtaposed colors. In works like Checker Players (1943) and Cello Player (1944), Avery captured the human figure as a series of large, chunky shapes. Rather than rendering the details of his subjects, Avery found his voice in the hues he observed, and used his feelings as fodder to render the underlying atmosphere of a scene. And yet, for much of his life, Avery’s career was eclipsed by  American Realism and the rise of  Abstract Expressionism; his work was too abstract for the academics and too representational for the AbEx scene. And despite his selling prices today (a painting can easily earn $3–$5 million at auction), he rarely sold work in his lifetime. Despite these difficulties, Avery continued to paint lilting abstractions of his family, shorelines, and forests until his death at the age of 79. The relentlessness with which Avery painted perhaps made sense given how accustomed he was to dealing with adversity, thanks to a youth frequently touched by death and poverty. (Read more.)

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