Two Centuries: American Art

Two Centuries: American Art

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 8. Dunes and Red Sea.

Property of Robert A. Bernhard, a Descendant of Mayer Lehman

Milton Avery

Dunes and Red Sea

Lot Closed

October 6, 06:08 PM GMT

Estimate

100,000 - 150,000 USD

Lot Details

Description

Property of Robert A. Bernhard, a Descendant of Mayer Lehman

Milton Avery

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.

The artist
The Waddington Galleries, London, 1964 (acquired from the above)
Jeremy Fry, Esq. (probably acquired from the above)
Thomas Gibson Fine Art, Ltd., London
Acquired by the present owner from the above, 1993

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.