Milton Avery

The Late Portraits

A beautifully printed selection of late works by the mid-century American master of colour, father to Rothko and other abstract expressionists. Staff Pick

One of the most influential artists of the twentieth century, Milton Avery (1885–1965) is celebrated for his luminous paintings of landscapes, figures and still lifes.

Art critic Hilton Kramer said, “He was, without question, our greatest colorist. … Among his European contemporaries, only Matisse—to whose art he owed much, of course—produced a greater achievement in this respect”.

Abstract Expressionists, and Colour Field painters are all indebted to Avery, as are contemporary painters like Peter Doig, who see colour as a main route to capturing the essence of a person, place, or moment in time.

Mark Rothko, a great friend and admirer, who gave the address at his funeral, ended by saying: “I rejoice for what he has left us”.

These portraits are drawn from the last four years of Milton Avery’s life. Characterised by economy of touch and luminescence of colour, the works on view see the artist apply a lifetime of experience to cherished subjects and motifs.

Published on the occasion of the exhibition Milton Avery: The Late Portraits at Victoria Miro, Venice (20 July – 8 September 2019).

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