Saturday, November 1, 2014

Milton Avery at Auction

Christie’s 5 DECEMBER 2013  

MILTON AVERY | Mandolin with Pears
Estimate: $600,000-800,000
An important figure in the American Modernist movement, Avery was largely self-taught and experimented with color planes and patterns, bridging the gap between Matisse’s vivaciously outlined canvases and the American color field artists of the 1950s.  Mandolin with Pears was executed in 1945, after Avery had aligned himself with gallerist Paul Rosenberg.  Rosenberg had encouraged Avery to replace his painterly techniques with denser areas of flat colors and delineated forms, resulting in visually striking abstract works, such as the present example.  Mandolin with Pears exemplifies Avery’s unique ability to simplify a scene to its broadest possible forms while retaining tension and balance through color and shape.

Christie’s NOVEMBER 30, 2011

Milton Avery’s (1885-1965) Nude on the Beach, 1943 (estimate: $300,000-500,000), was painted during the most critical period in Avery’s career.  Avery’s bold abstractions exerted a highly important influence on Post-War American paintings and have been seen as critical forerunners to paintings by Mark Rothko and Adolph Gottlieb, among many others.  His use of color and form to indicate depth and dimension, presented in a compressed pictorial space, represents the breadth of the American Modern aesthetic.  As a key link between early 20th century art and Post-War art movements, Avery tends to appeal to collectors of both periods.

Bonhams May 31, 2014

Bonham's December 4,



Six works from the Andy Williams’ collection will be included in the sale, including two important paintings by Milton Avery,

The Musicians (estimate: $400,000-600,000)

and Pale Flower (estimate: $250,000-350,000). 

The success of Milton Avery's art lies in his ability to modernize a familiar domestic scene through his carefully orchestrated arrangement of color and pattern. He translates his subject matter into a unique lexicon of shapes and forms that fit together to create a cohesive composition. Painted in 1949, The Musicians was executed during the most critical period of Milton Avery's career, when he incorporated the simplified, blocked forms for which he became known. In addition to their broad popular appeal, Avery's bold, abstracted shapes exerted an important influence on Post-War American painters, especially Mark Rothko and Adolph Gottlieb. His work also reflects the same painterly concerns that consumed the pioneers of French modernism. Like Matisse, Dufy, and Picasso, Avery arranges planes of saturated color while retaining the two-dimensional surface of the canvas.

Sotheby's May 2013

Avery’s Music Makers, on offer from the estate of screen star Gregory Peck and his wife Veronique, achieved $2,965,000 – double its $1.5 million high estimate.