An exhibition at the Wadsworth Atheneum provides a glimpse into the evolution of the 20th-century American modernist’s signature style. By
Just as prequels are big in movies, television and even comic books, museum shows about the early works of painters already known to art history are far from uncommon. The question that arises with such exhibitions is: Do they merit attention in and of themselves, providing more than mere footnotes to the mature work? In the case of “Milton Avery: The Connecticut Years,” at the Wadsworth Atheneum, which “focuses on the artist’s earliest works from the 1910s and 1920s,” when he still lived in Hartford and had yet to arrive at the simplified, cheerily colored, semiabstract figuration for which he is known, the answer is yes.
Image: Milton Avery, Rainbow Rocks, 1921
© The Milton Avery Trust/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York