DescriptionMILTON AVERY (American, 1893-1965)
Portrait of Sally with Blue Shawl, circa 1932
Oil on linen laid on board
26 x 14 inches (66.0 x 35.6 cm)
Signed lower right: Milton Avery
Gallery 144, New York (label verso);
Mr. and Mrs. Julian Foss, Verona, New Jersey;
Ziegenfuss Gallery, Sarasota, Florida (label verso);
Dr. and Mrs. Robert Lieberman, Winter Park, Florida.
Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, New Jersey, "The Post-Armory Decades", February 9 - March 6, 1962, no. 2.
After moving to New York in 1925, Avery's style of painting shifted from landscapes inspired by the American Impressionists Ernest Lawson and John Twachtmen to reflect a distinct modern feel similar to the works of Henri Matisse and the pre-Cubist works of Pablo Picasso. This early portrait of the artist's wife Sally dates from a period when he was attending the Arts Student League in New York. In this portrait, Avery has simplified forms into broad, seemingly flat areas of color. He has mastered the subtleties of tone with a muted palette and has created texture from applying thin layers of paint across the linen with a stiff brush.
Throughout the 1930s, the Averys became very active in the thriving art scene in New York and in 1932 began summering in Gloucester with Mark Rothko, Adolph Gottlieb, and Barnett Newman. At times Sally made special frames for paintings that would be exhibited, and this portrait comes with one of the few surviving frames.
We are grateful to the Milton and Sally Avery Foundation for their assistance in the attribution of this lot to the hand of Milton Avery.
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