Bird with Choppy Sea

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  • Provenance

    Milton Avery Trust
    Knoedler Gallery, New York
    Cline Fine Art, Santa Fe
    Linda Hyman, New York
    Hackett Freedman Gallery, San Francisco

  • Exhibited

    San Francisco, Hackett-Freedman Gallery, Milton Avery: Select Works 1933-1963, January 9 - March 1, 2003

  • Literature

    Milton Avery: Select Works 1933-1963, San Francisco: Hackett-Freedman Gallery, 2003, p. 23 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    This late work by Milton Avery is emblematic of the American painter’s greatest strengths and reflects the refined modernist aesthetic that the artist cultivated throughout his long lasting and illustrious career. Bordering on abstraction, Bird with Choppy Sea’s dramatic reduction and blunt fattening of form is expertly paired with a simple yet
    luminous color scheme of contrasting hues. The powerful diagonal of the bird’s body and the shimmering rhythm of the brush strokes representing the sea together give a dynamic energy to the work that speaks to Avery’s mastery of the medium. Although trained in the environs of New York, Avery completely absorbed the color techniques of the European historical avant-garde. Avery’s paintings can be seen as an American response to the works by French Fauvist Henri Matisse and German Expressionist Ernst Ludwig Kirchner.



    Recognized for decades as forerunners of American abstract art, Avery’s works are part of the public collections of numerous major art institutions, such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, The Whitney Museum, The National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, among others. Indeed, Avery’s brilliant color schemes, brush strokes of form, and elimination of perspectival space have had an undeniable impact on later American painters, most notably the Color Field generation. “What was Avery’s repertoire?,” the artist’s friend and celebrated painter Mark Rothko explained, “His living room, Central Park, his wife Sally, his daughter March, the beaches and mountains where they summered; cows, fish heads, the fight of birds; his friends and whatever world strayed through his studio: a domestic, unheroic cast. But from these there have been fashioned great canvases, that far from the casual and transitory implications of the subjects, have always a gripping lyricism, and often achieve the permanence and monumentality of Egypt.”

236

PROPERTY OF A DISTINGUISHED WEST COAST COLLECTOR

Bird with Choppy Sea

1960
oil on paper
17 3/8 x 23 in. (44.1 x 58.4 cm.)
Signed and dated "Milton Avery 1960" lower left; further signed, titled and dated 'Bird + Choppy Sea' by Milton Avery 1960" on the reverse.

Estimate
$80,000 - 120,000 

sold for $81,250

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Amanda Stoffel
Head of Day Sale
astoffel@phillips.com
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Contemporary Art Day

New York 12 November 2013 11AM