Great Painter: Milton Avery

Milton Avery’s 1956 painting tilted “Sea Gazers” is one of my all time favorite paintings. Shown above, I was lucky enough to see it in person last year when it was on display at the Whitney during their “Collecting Biennials” show. I must have stared at this painting for a good 20 minutes, while also illegally sneaking a photo. I was captivated by the subtly of tone. Such a peaceful painting, as are many of Avery’s works. Known as the American Matisse, this Connecticut/NYC based painter was uninterested in creating conventional dimensions or depth in his paintings. Rather, his concern was with color, value, and, in my opinion, feel. It’s hard to be abstract, modern and representational all at once, as his work is.

Do you prefer his landscapes or figurative paintings?





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About Cate

Cate is a former decorating editor of a shelter magazine based in Manhattan, who has recently moved from the Big Apple to Charlottesville with husband and baby. An interior design enthusiast, she enjoys all things aesthetic.
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7 Responses to Great Painter: Milton Avery

  1. Stephanie says:

    Oh nice! These remind me of Jacob Lawrence a lot. Or would that be the other way around? I guess I should check dates!

  2. Ken says:

    The hits just keep ‘a comin’ in this series. Avery has been one of my favorite painters since the Phillips Collection devoted a show to him in 2004. Domesticity isn’t usually one of my favorite subjects in art – well, Vuillard excepted – but I especially love Avery’s figurative work because I prefer the figure, and because of his apparent love for his family.

    • Cate says:

      Ken, I’m so glad you are enjoying the series!
      I’m partial to figures as well. I think a painter’s true ability/vision is put to the test via the figure. Stay tuned for some more great painters to come…

  3. ann west says:

    What is not to like…iLOVE these paintings! I wonder why…can you put it into words why they are so pleasing ? mom

  4. ann west says:

    I LOVE these paintings..what’s not to like…can you put into words why these have such a universal appeal? mom

    • Cate says:

      Well, I think they have everything you like: whimsey, an illustrative quality, simple shapes, and a muted, pastel pallet. Am I right?

  5. ann west says:

    oh yeah..

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