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Milton Avery Revisited: Works from the Louis and Annette Kaufman Collection


The Mitchell Art Gallery at St. John's College is displaying "Milton Avery Revisited: Works from the Louis and Annette Kaufman Collection" through Feb. 22, 2003. The exhibition features 28 portraits, landscapes, and still lifes by this American painter, whose work is characterized by simplified forms and brightened colors in the tradition of Matisse.

Milton Avery (1885-1965) moved to New York City in 1925, where he encountered the work of Matisse and the pre-Cubist work of Picasso. Although Avery's art became increasingly abstract, he never abandoned representational subject matter, painting figure groups, still lifes, landscapes, and seascapes. His mature style, developed by the mid-1940s, is characterized by a reduction of elements to their essential forms, elimination of detail, and surface patterns of flattened shapes fined with arbitrary color. Because of its emphasis on color, Avery's work was important to many younger artists, particularly Mark Rothko, Helen Frankenthaler, and other Color Field painters. (left: Milton Avery, Sally with Skull, 1946, oil on canvas)

This collection is dominated with figurative works, including Self Portrait with Red Tam and Scarf and portraits of Avery's family and friends from the Art Students League, such as Portrait of Chaim Gross and Chinese Checkers (March Avery and Vincenzo Spagna). Avery's use of the shoulder-length, full-face pose was favored for many portraits throughout his early career. The composition enabled him to more easily flatten the figure; pictorial depth was further negated by using clothing accessories like hats and scarves that Avery painted as fields of color with little physical modeling.

National Gallery of Art curator Wilford W. Scott will give a gallery talk on "Milton Avery: 'Poet-Inventor'" at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2003. Art educator Lucinda Edinberg will offer a lunchtime tour of the exhibit from 12: 15 to 12:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2003 and a Sunday afternoon tour at 3 p.m. on Feb. 9, 2003

This exhibition has been organized by the Syracuse University Art Collection.

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