MILTON AVERY | Yellow Dune

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MILTON AVERY
Yellow Dune
signed Milton Avery and dated 1958 lower left
oil on paper
23 by 34 ¾ in. 58.4 by 88.3 cm.
Executed in 1958.

Price Available Upon Request

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“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” – Milton Avery

CATALOGUE NOTE
Milton Avery and his wife, Sally, spent the summer of 1958 in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Avery, whose interest in color was shared with the Abstract Expressionists Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman, began during this summer to focus almost exclusively on the harmonies of color. Barbara Haskell writes, “While Avery was doubtless encouraged to move further toward abstraction by the example of Rothko, Gottlieb, and Newman, his progression was not sudden; precedents for these increasingly abstract works exist in his own early paintings—those same paintings, which had initially inspired the younger artists…. As a result his formal vocabulary, unlike that of some non-objective painters, was never reduced to a single format, but remained richly varied. ‘I work on two levels,’ he had written in 1951. ‘I try to construct a picture in which shapes, spaces, colors form a set of unique relationships, independent of any subject matter. At the same time I try to capture and translate the excitement and emotion aroused in me by the impact with the original idea.’ His work thus remained poised between objective depictions and non-objective depictive aesthetic issues; by anchoring his work in subject matter while simultaneously giving fundamental importance to formal characteristics, Avery reconciled modernism with his own commitment to recognizable imagery” (Barbara Haskell,Milton Avery, New York, 1982, pp. 148, 153, 156). While Avery did not succumb completely to abstraction, he did reduce his paintings to their most vital components. The artist stated, “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” (Haskell, p. 148). Executed in 1958, Yellow Dune exemplifies Avery’s growing interest in the reduction of elements, simplified forms and increasing use of color, while returning to one of favorite subjects, a three-part composition of land, sea, and sky.

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