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    Milton Avery (American, 1885-1965)
    Mexican Woman, 1949
    Oil on canvasboard
    28 x 22 inches (71.1 x 55.9 cm)
    Signed and dated lower left: Milton Avery 1949
    Signed, dated, and titled on the reverse: Mexican Woman / by / Milton Avery / 1949


    The artist;
    Rudolph Galleries, Woodstock, New York, 1957;
    Paul M. Wilhelm, Woodstock, New York, acquired from the above;
    Collection of Martin Wilhelm, by descent;
    Estate of the above.

    Mexican Woman was likely inspired by a three-month vacation the artist took to Mexico with his family in the summer of 1946. Painted in 1949, the present work was executed during the most critical period of Avery's career. Indeed, his work from the mid- to late-1940s has the distinctive character of simplified forms and blocks of color associated with the artist's most notable paintings. In addition to their broad popular appeal, Avery's bold abstractions exerted a highly important influence on Post-War American painting and have been identified as critical forerunners to the works of Mark Rothko and Adolph Gottlieb, among others.

    As is typical of Avery's style, in Mexican Woman, the artist creates tension and balance through his selection of complementary and contrasting colors and shapes. The expressive planes of color evident in the verdant greens of the distant hills, topped by a church dome, modulate space and suggest recession. In 1952, Avery explained this 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" (R. Hobbs, Milton Avery: The Late Paintings, New York, 2001, p. 51). Avery achieves balance in the present work through the juxtaposition of the diagonal street pathways, set against the strong vertical woman at center, with buildings on either side.

    Though he discounted the influence of Henri Matisse on his work, it seems undeniable that Avery was inspired by the French artist's use of broad, interlocking shapes to create depth and his preference for flat color over blended shades. Matisse described an approach to painting, which could equally serve to define Avery's own technique: "Fit your parts into one another and build up your figures as a carpenter does a house. Everything must be constructed-built up of parts that make a unit..." Matisse further stated, "The mechanics of construction is the establishment of the oppositions which create the equilibrium of the directions" (as quoted in Milton Avery: The Late Paintings, pp. 50, 53). In Mexican Woman, Avery has assembled his composition according to this method to create a visually striking composition that demonstrates the artist at the height of his abilities.

    More information about Milton Avery, also known as Avery, Milton, Avery, Milton Clark, Milton Avery.

    Condition Report*: Minor surface dirt and frame wear; under UV light, there appears to be no inpaint.

    Framed Dimensions 33.5 X 27.5 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. Heritage does not guarantee the condition of frames and shall not be liable for any damage/scratches to frames, glass/acrylic coverings, original boxes, display accessories, or art that has slipped in frames. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2019
    1st Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,574

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