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    Description

    Milton Avery (American, 1885-1965)
    Untitled (Landscape), circa 1940
    Oil on canvasboard
    14 x 18 inches (35.6 x 45.7 cm)
    Signed lower left: Milton / Avery

    PROVENANCE:
    Private collection, Toronto, Canada.

    In the summer of 1935, Milton Avery and his family escaped the heat of New York City by traveling to Vermont, where he filled his sketchbooks with views of the countryside. He was immediately enamored by the tranquility and the isolation of the picturesque environment, and the locale subsequently became one of the primary subjects of the artist's landscape paintings, which allowed Avery to fully experiment with color and approach abstraction. Untitled (Landscape) was likely painted after one of these trips to Vermont.

    In Untitled (Landscape), Avery depicts the dense green rolling hills and trees and cloudy blue sky as one flat plane of color whose layers visually convey a sense of the spaciousness and depth. Though they mostly lack a specificity of place, even when based on preliminary studies of particular locations, Avery's "landscapes are not just any landscapes but have the bewitching quality of recalling to each observer a particular landscape" (U. Johnson, Milton Avery: Prints and Drawings, 1920-1964, 1966, p. 14).

    Avery was especially interested in uniting simplified design and expressive color without pushing his art towards pure abstraction. He used color to his advantage and stripped down to the essentials of the scene before him, as he was more concerned with overall tonal harmonies and the spirit of nature, over exact truth to nature. Though Avery pushed the limits of abstraction, he always included some detail, such as the trunks of the trees, to keep his paintings from becoming veritable color-fields. While Avery was not interested in taking his works beyond concrete references, these landscapes, with their emphasis on bands of color, had a distinct impact on artists such as Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman, who pushed Avery's ideas fully into abstraction.

    Indeed, Avery was a master of the modern American landscape. "What he presents with a minimum of histrionics is the cool and dusky serenity of the northeastern American landscape. At the same time, through his symbolism, he suggests, rather than describes, rhythms and relationships among forms that can easily be read in and for themselves with satisfaction...The childlike simplicity of figures and landscapes appear at first just that, but there is more to Avery and it is that very simplification that breathes life into his work...This in itself ranks Avery as an important innovator in American art" (C.B. Fergeson, The Milton Avery Family, exhibition catalogue, New Britain, Connecticut, 1968).




    Condition Report*: very minor frame wear along bottom edge; under UV light, there appears to be no inpaint.
    Framed Dimensions 24.5 X 28.5 Inches
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2019
    3rd Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 8
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 983

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