The story of how Milton Avery came to shape modern American art is really a love story. It begins in 1925, when, on a painting trip to Massachusetts, the 39-year-old from Connecticut met and fell for an illustrator 17 years his junior, Sally Michel. Avery had neither money nor renown, but she was as smitten with him as he was with her, and invited him to move in with her in New York, where she would support him. It was an irresistible proposition: a life at his easel, uninterrupted, in what was then the most forward-looking city in the world.
Image: detail of Husband and Wife by Milton Avery, 1945