MILTON AVERY
American, (1885-1965)
"Red Bergère," 1963
oil on canvas board
signed and dated upper right "Milton Avery 1963," titled and dated on the reverse

  • Notes: Our thanks to Sean Cavanaugh of the Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation for his assistance in cataloging this lot.
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    Milton Avery moved to Hartford, Connecticut with his family in 1898 at the age of 13. In 1905, he enrolled in a lettering class at the Connecticut League of Art Students in Hartford. It was there that the school's director encouraged him to take a life-drawing class, launching Avery's career as an artist. In 1918 he transferred to the School of Art at the Society of Hartford and begin exhibiting his works while working odd jobs in the city.

    Avery spent his summers in Gloucester and there he met Sally Michel. The couple married in 1926 and moved to New York City. In New York City he attended sketch classes at the Art Students League and befriended New York School artists including Adolph Gottlieb, Mark Rothko, and Barnett Newman. Sally, an artist herself, worked as a freelance illustrator to support the family so Milton could pursue his emerging artistic career.

    In 1935 Milton was invited to exhibit his work at the prestigious Valentine Gallery. This initiated exponential growth in his career. Although he was never affiliated with the artist's groups in New York, the Averys' apartment became a meeting ground frequently visited by Gottlieb, Rothko, Newman and their contemporaries. By 1943, Avery joined Paul Rosenberg's gallery and in 1944 there was a retrospective exhibition of his work at the Phillips Memorial Gallery that earned him national acclaim.

    Red Bergere is typical of Avery's work. The subject pulled from an unassuming interaction, with a focus on flat shapes and color while emphasizing strong contrasts between light and dark hues. The bold red of the bergere chair contrasts with the flat green background in this work as the figure sits casually with her cocktail teetering in her glass. Avery achieves harmony in the present work through the use of a strong colors paired with the curvaceous form of the woman. He was often thought of as an American Matisse.

    In 1952, Avery explained his dimensional use of color, "I do not use linear perspective, but achieve depth by color—the function of one color with another. I strip the design to the essentials; the facts do not interest me as much as the essence of nature."1
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    1 Robert Hobbs, "Milton Avery: The Late Paintings," (Harry N. Abrams: New York, 2001), p. 51.
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    Framed dimensions: 26 x 22 x 2 inches

    tags: modern / contemporary, portrait, oil painting, listed artist, 20th century
  • Provenance: ACA Galleries, New York, New York; Private Collection, Connecticut.
  • Dimensions: 18 x 14 inches
  • Artist Name: MILTON AVERY
  • Medium: oil on canvas board
  • Condition: overall excellent condition

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by Shannon's
October 28, 2021 6:00 PM EDT
Milford, CT, US

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