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img913No two people “see color” exactly the same, even though color as such can be critically and scientifically defined. Could it be we need the artist’s truth and motivational transparency to show us through his work how to “feel and understand” the colors he or she elects to use? Part of the answer to this question is how the color is used on the flat surface. Does color add to the visual depth of the subject and the spatial relationship of the objects we see on the surface?

One of the major “colorists” in painting was the Frenchman Henri Matisse (1869-1954) and the other major one defined as the “American Matisse” by the New York art critic Hilton Kramer was the artist Milton Avery (1885-1965).

Hilton Kramer in an article by him titled “Our Greatest Colorist” in the New York Times, April 12,1981, stated referring to Milton Avery: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.” (wikipedia)

img914Milton Avery had his first major art show in 1928 after working years in the shadows of the art world. He adhered only to his own unwavering vision, his paintings included many representational subjects from genre to landscapes in his early period, gravitating slowly in the mid twenties to a form of abstract painting, but always with his colored vision. His friends included Color Field painters like Mark Rothko and Helen Frankenthaler, but also artists like the modernist Marsden Hartley or Adolph Gottlieb and Abraham Walkowitz pictured in an oil portrait done by Avery and owned by the D C Moore Gallery.

img915In 1943 his career took of when the artist was represented by the recently opened New York Gallery, the very prestigious Paul Rosenberg Gallery, that represented Marsden Hartley, Matisse and Braque, Picasso and many other famous artists.

I do not know the reason why Avery had this 1947 show at the more conservative Durand-Ruel Galleries which had been in New York City since 1887 and which was the “Impressionist Master Painting Gallery” in the city, showing the paintings he made of his daughter March.

His daughter like his wife became a painter in her own right, but she was his life, his joy and as a man of few words “Why talk when you can paint”.

img917img916For some great color pictures, visit this Milton Avery post on bjws’s blogspot.