Milton Avery 1885-1965
The works of Milton Avery are serene, yet powerful, much like the man himself.
At age 16, Avery became the sole support of his mother and sisters after the death of his father. He held blue-collar jobs for many years, often working late shifts, so that he could paint during the day.
He met and married artist, Sally Michel, in 1926. Their home in New York became a meeting place for young artists, like Mark Rothko, who were influenced by Avery’s unique style and bold use of color.
Avery’s style was a far cry from the angst-filled Abstract Expressionism that was popular during the mid-twentieth century, and his work was often overlooked by galleries and critics. It took the art world a while to appreciate Avery’s masterful use of color and form.
In 1981, New York Times art critic, Hilton Kramer, wrote, “He was, without question, our greatest colorist. … Among his European contemporaries, only Matisse—to whose art he owed much, of course—produced a greater achievement in this respect.”
Part of the problem, Kramer wrote, was that Milton Avery’s work did not fit into any category by which contemporary art is judged. “It belonged to no ‘school,’ it generated no controversy and the artist who created it was definitely not ‘a personality.’ It was therefore assumed — mistakenly — to be not of major importance.”
Recent exhibitions of Avery’s work, and success at auction, have shone a fresh light on his brilliance. Avery’s work has been shown recently at the Yates Art Gallery in New York. A traveling exhibit, Milton Avery, the first retrospective of his works in thirty years, has been organized by the Royal Academy of Arts in London in collaboration with The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. Wadsworth curator, Erin Monroe, explains how Avery developed his style:
Artle: A New Game From the National Gallery of Art
The National Gallery of Art (NGA) in Washington, D.C. has given art lovers a spinoff of the popular game, Wordle.
Every day, works by one of the 15,000 artists whose works are part of the NGA’s collection, are shown on the Artle site. Players get four chances to guess the artist. If the player can’t guess the artist in four turns, the answer is revealed.
Once an artist’s name is revealed, the player can click links to detailed overviews of the works of art to learn more.
The NGA has a collection of more than 155,000 works of art, so the game should be around for quite a while.
Tom McGlynn. Milton Avery: Fifty Paintings/Fifty Years. The Brooklyn Rail. July-August 2022.
Hilton Kramer. Avery-Our Greatest Colorist. The New York Times. April 12, 1981.
Susan Stamberg. Artist Milton Avery created many amazing works before his death in 1965. NPR. Morning Edition/Interview. January 17, 2022.
Jess Eng. ‘Wordle’ fan? The National Gallery of Art has launched a copycat. The Washington Post. June 30, 2022.
Ayun Halliday. Play “Artle,” an Art History Version of Wordle: A New Game from the National Gallery of Art. Open Culture. June 3, 2022.
Suzanne Rowan Kelleher. Meet Artle, The Wordle Spinoff For Art Lovers. Forbes. May 20, 2022.