Milton Avery

February 24 – June 5, 2022

The modernist American painter Milton Avery (1885–1965) expressed his vision of the world through harmonious color and simplified forms. His career spanned the movements of American Impressionism and Abstract Expressionism yet in light of these major artistic traditions, he forged a staunchly independent path as an artist. Throughout his work, Avery’s color sensibility and balance of form remained apparent. Milton Avery, the first retrospective exhibition in the United States in thirty years, brings together a selection of 60 artworks representative of his signature themes including scenes of daily life, portraits of loved ones, serene landscapes, and large-scale abstractions. Organized by the Royal Academy of Arts, London, the exhibition will tour internationally. The Wadsworth is the only venue in New England and is a significant homecoming for Avery who grew up outside Hartford, took his first art classes here, and essentially learned to become an artist by exploring Connecticut.

His imaginative palette, often described as “poetic,” earned him great acclaim as one of the great 20th-century colorists. His color sensibility and balance of form influenced a younger generation of artists such as Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman and Adolph Gottlieb, who he befriended and mentored. In Rothko’s words, Avery celebrated the world around him with a poetry that “penetrated every pore of the canvas to the very last touch of the brush.”

Milton Avery will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue available in the Museum Shop.

Organized by the Royal Academy of Arts, London, in collaboration with the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. Curated by Edith Devaney with the Royal Academy of Arts, London. Major support provided by The Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation.

Images: Left: Husband and Wife, 1945. Oil on canvas. Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Roy R. Neuberger. 1955.142. © 2021 Milton Avery Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Right: Boathouse by the Sea, 1959. Oil on canvas.  © 2021 Milton Avery Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York and DACS, London 2020. Courtesy Victoria Miro and Waqas Wajahat.