Milton Avery 1885-1965
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.
– Milton Avery
A retrospective of the work of Milton Avery will be traveling from the U.S. to London. It’s been thirty years since the artist’s last retrospective, which was held at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1982.
Avery was known as the American Matisse, because of his use of color and shapes, that are both bold and soothing.
His work was often overlooked by the art world in America because of the Abstract Expressionist movement of the time. He had a profound influence on younger American artists, like Mark Rothko and Kenneth Noland, and on both Color Field painting and Abstract Expressionism.
Avery’s wife, Sally Michel Avery, was an artist and illustrator, who shared a studio with her husband, but focused more on promoting his work than her own.
Their daughter, March Avery, is also a painter, now in her 80s. Her work is currently on display at the Parts and Labor Gallery in Beacon, New York.
Her son, Sean Cavanaugh, the grandson of Milton and Sally Avery, is also a successful artist.
Milton Avery’s retrospective is currently on exhibit at the Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas. The show will be on view at Hartford’s Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art from March 5 through June 5, 2022, before it travels to its final showing at the Royal Academy of Arts in London.
Hughie Lee-Smith 1915-1999
Hughie Lee-Smith was not just an exceptional artist, he was also an educator, who taught at the Art Students League in New York for fifteen years.
Norman Lewis 1909-1979
Norman Lewis also taught at the Art Students League. His early works were figurative, and as he matured he began to paint abstract works that garnered him representation at the Willard Gallery in New York.
Norman Lewis’ Past Time, 1950–51, oil on canvas, sold for $233,000, and a 1970s work on paper garnered $161,000 at the auction.
Ernie Barnes 1938-2009
Ernie Barnes’ paintings became part of popular culture when they were used on the 1970s TV sitcom Good Times. Barnes had a career in football and was paid by the NFL to paint action on the field from the sidelines.
A retrospective of Ernie Barnes’ work was held in 2019 at the California African American Museum in Los Angeles.
Please contact us if you would like more information about the work of Milton Avery, Hughie Lee-Smith, Norman Lewis, Ernie Barnes or any of the other fine artists whose works are available at Surovek Gallery.
Coming Up: Milton Avery Retrospective Travels. ARTFIX daily. January 9, 2022.
Alison Rooney. Across Generations. The Highlands Current. January 8, 2022.
Baya Simons, Kyra Ho, Sara Semic and Nini Barbakadze. Six of the best new art and photography books/Celebrating modernist painter Milton Avery’s masterful use of colour. Financial Times.
Maggie Duffy. Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg receives 5 masterpieces on loan. Tampa Bay Times. February 12, 2021.
African American Art Brings $5M in Record-Smashing Sale at Swann. ARTFIXdaily. October 11, 2021.