Sebastian Smee reviews Milton Avery at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in the Washington Post

Milton Avery was the 20th century’s great ‘painter’s painter’

 

America’s most original colorist, the subject of new retrospective at the Wadsworth Atheneum, was inspired by Matisse, and in turn inspired Rothko. By Sebastian Smee

 

No single artist shaped 20th-century art more than Pablo Picasso. But there was also, of course, Henri Matisse. And the list of great American painters who looked more to Matisse than Picasso for guidance is impressive.

 

Another way of saying it, of course, is that the artists in Matisse’s camp — among them Richard Diebenkorn, Lee Krasner, Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko and Milton Avery — looked more to color than to line. But that sounds too bloodless and cool. There is an emotional heat in the affinity these artists felt for Matisse — even those who also learned from Picasso — that encourages a critic to keep it personal.

 

Read more

 

Image: Milton Avery, Blue Trees, 1945

© Milton Avery Trust/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Photo: Jim Frank/Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art

The Washington Post Posted March 16 2022

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