By descent in the family to the present owner (acquired directly from the artist)
Sally M. Avery writes, "In approaching a canvas Milton had already measured and weighed a number of concepts. Sitting in his favorite rocker, pipe in hand, he would study the blank canvas. He said 'A blank canvas is a thing of beauty. The challenge is to cover it and still retain that radiance.' Milton would sit and rock and visualize the painting he was about to create. When that image became loud and clear he would go to the easel, lightly sketch in his motif, and begin to paint. As the painting took shape - it might be a figure, it might be a landscape, it might be a seascape - the subject was not the object.
"The clarity of his thinking was evident in the exactness of the color harmonies, sometimes brisk, sometimes tender, the definition of shapes interlocking or free, and over all a sense of order which carries the unmistakable imprint of the unique genius of Milton Avery" (Milton Avery: A Retrospective of Forty-Eight Oils, Watercolors, Gouaches, Drawings, Monotypes and Original Prints, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1984)
As early as 1944, the year he painted Card Game, Avery had started to simplify the shapes and detail in his compositions, paring down elements to express the experience of the painting rather than its subject. "By broadly generalizing contours, and minimizing shapes and graphic details, he sought to transcend the particular factual accidents of his subjects and capture their universality - whether of individual form or of essential relationships between objects" (Barbara Haskell, Milton Avery, New York, 1982, p.117).
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