Dunes and Red Sea
Property of Robert A. Bernhard, a Descendant of Mayer Lehman
1885 - 1965
Dunes and Red Sea
signed Milton Avery and dated 1963 (lower left); also bears inscription (on the reverse)
oil and pencil on canvasboard
canvas: 15 by 30 inches (38.1 by 76.2 cm)
framed: 21 ¼ by 36 ¼ inches (53.9 by 92 cm)
This lot is accompanied by a letter of opinion from the Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, New York.
There are minor frame abrasions at extreme outer edges and a few scattered surface accretions throughout. Under UV: There appears to be minor inpainting to address frame abrasion along the bottom edge. Although some pigments fluoresce, they appear to be the artist's original.
The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.
Dunes and Red Sea is an important example of the artist's mature style that developed during the 1950s-60s. This body of work completed later in his career is reminiscent of the Color Field paintings that were popularized by his contemporaries and close acquaintances, among them Helen Frankenthaler and Mark Rothko. The achievements of such important abstract painters were mirrored in Avery's own stylistic evolution during the period -- his subject matter now reduced in form and enlivened by rich color harmonies.
The deconstructed and dramatically simplified elements of land, sea and sky in Dunes and Red Sea are suggested by flattened planes of color but Avery still maintains the illusion of depth by implementing a bold horizon line through center. This horizontal division of the canvas was one of the artist’s preferred compositional devices in the 1950s and 1960s, replacing the slanted diagonal planes he favored in earlier decades.
When interviewed in 1952, the artist explained, "I always take something out of my pictures . . . I strip the design to essentials; the facts do not interest me as much as the essence of nature" (as quoted in Chris Ritter, “A Milton Avery Profile,” Art Digest, vol. 27, December 1, 1952, p. 12). Indeed, his work from the last and most important period of his career, demonstrates an evolution in style, technique and intent that serve to position Avery as one of the earliest American practitioners of chromatic abstraction.