Lot # 041
Fall 2017 - 1st Session Live auction

Milton Avery
1893 - 1965 American

Old Mountain, Young Trees
oil on canvas board
signed and dated 1962 and on verso signed, titled, dated and inscribed "2180"
24 x 30 in  61 x 76.2cm

Provenance:
Donald Morris Gallery, Detroit, June 1966
David Mirvish Gallery, Toronto, July 1, 1966
Collection of James and Elizabeth Eayrs, Toronto

Literature:
Clement Greenberg, “Milton Avery,” The Collected Essays and Criticism, Volume 4: Modernism with a Vengeance, 1957 – 1969, 1995, page 42

Few artists have the poise to attempt—let alone to achieve—humour in their paintings. Milton Avery is one of these few. Here, his title sets up the terms of engagement between the simplified and fundamental elements in the scene. Characteristically too, these basics are suggested with the utmost economy of means and without any attempt at naturalism. Avery’s spring green trees seem to perambulate on sprightly legs, to dance in front of - even to tease - the now static old mountains, which appear weathered because of Avery’s strong painted gestures and dark pigment. Young versus old, green versus brown: what we see is nature’s regenerative cycle in a long and a short time span.

It is a measure of the quality of Avery’s work in landscape especially that his work attracted the attention and fine prose of some of the most eminent and influential art writers of the day. Unequaled in influence was the American critic Clement Greenberg. Reassessing both Avery’s work and his own less enthusiastic earlier responses to it, in 1957 Greenberg stated, “Nature is flattened and aerated in Avery’s landscapes, but not deprived in the end of its substantiality…” Avery’s is a respectful and ultimately serious whimsy around nature.

We thank the Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation for confirming their positive opinion of this work. A document from the foundation will accompany this lot.



For an introduction to the James and Elizabeth Eayrs Collection of Milton Avery in PDF format please click here

Estimate: $100,000 ~ $150,000 CAD  

All prices are in Canadian Dollars.

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