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Support: Wove paper
Sheet: 33 x 41.6 cm (13 x 16 3/8 in.); Platemark: 14.9 x 37.7 cm (5 7/8 x 14 13/16 in.)
© Milton Avery Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Norman O. Stone and Ella A. Stone Memorial Fund 2001.9.5
Catalogue raisonné: Lunn 29
Edition: Portfolio No. 89 of an edition of 100
Milton Avery was a quiet, humble man whose art reflected his life. Inspired by personal experience and based on direct observation, his relaxed, intimate works depict a serene, ideal world. Landscapes evoke summer trips to the country and seaside; urban scenes depict family and friends. From apparently ordinary subject matter, Avery constructed innovative works in which simplified flat forms build perfectly balanced, satisfying compositions.
Between 1947 and 1948, Chris Ritter, director of the Laurel Gallery, New York, published four issues of Laurels, portfolios of prints, literature, and original calligraphy often on paper handmade by Douglass Howell. The museum's collection already includes the first two issues, with prints by Joan Miró, Stanley William Hayter, Reginald Marsh, and others. The five drypoints shown here were made for the fourth Laurels Portfolio. They encompass Avery's favorite motifs: landscape, seascape, and figure, all delineated with amazing economy. For example, the Nude with Long Torso is drawn with two horizontal lines that span the length of the plate. By subtly controlling the thickness of line or placement of a shape, a sense of roundness, weight, and a shallow space are created.
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