Boathouse by the Sea (1959)
Victoria Miro – London
By Andrew Goldstein
A great American painter of soft landscapes and subtle mood, Milton Avery was an important mentor for the younger and more famous Abstract Expressionists—he summered every year with Mark Rothko and Adolph Gottlieb in Provincetown, Cape Cod—but has himself faded from the same kind of prominence, particularly when it comes to the market. This is a perfect time for a comeback, however, with Avery’s long-neglected friend Marsden Hartley now undergoing a reappraisal as a major artist and with collectors looking to rediscover untapped pockets of quality and ambition in the past century. Recently, the Avery estate signed up with Victoria Miro in London to be represented in Europe, and the gallery is doing a full-court press on the artist’s behalf right now, giving him a solo show at Art Basel—the gallery’s first one-artist presentation at the fair—and an exhibition in its Mayfair gallery through the end of July.
This majestic abstraction, evoking a strip of sand by the seaside at sundown, is paired with its preparatory drawing and is being offered exclusively to a museum. So far, there have been several European curators circling, and the gallery expects museum shows to emerge from the fair along with at least modest sales from the booth, where everything is priced between $190,000 and $4 million.