Milton Avery was born the son of a tanner in 1885. He worked a series of blue collar jobs in order to sustain himself in his early life, and with the death of his brother in law, Avery was left with the the duty to provide for 7 female members of his family. His interest in art eventually led him to enroll in classes with the Connecticut League of Art Students, and by 1917 he began to take on night jobs so as to paint during the daylight. Once married to his wife Sally Michel, Avery was able to focus more on his painting, as her pay, being an illustrator, was helping to stabilize his fiscal situation. His work was first recognized by Roy Neuberger who bought about 100 of his paintings and was determined to make the world recognize the caliber of Avery's art. Neuberger went on to donate many of these paintings to many well respected museums and within years Avery was considered to be a great artist within the higher circles of art collectors and curators.
Some took to calling Avery the American Matisse. This can be tied to the style that he adopts in his creation of paintings, one that seems to be far more concerned with the emotive quality of color and paint rather than over accurate representation of spatiality or depth. Many of Avery's canvases acquire similar flatness to those of Matisse via this obsession with color; this can be seen in March on the Rock, especially in the upper right portion of the canvas, where what appears to be trees, brush and a mountainous landscape all mesh into one flattened expanse of differing shades of green. This obsession with color and flattening aspect of Milton's work will go on to become an iconic strategy employed by the artist, and it is one that is omnipresent in works made by his hand.
< Back to all artists