Milton Avery’s Unique American Modernism

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Matthew Sperling reviews Milton Avery at Victoria Miro, London, on view through July 29, 2017.

Sperling writes: “In Excursion on the Thames (1953), one of several pictures in the exhibition deriving from Avery’s only trip to Europe in 1952, the perfect balance is struck between loving observation of the everyday and visionary form-making: the pleasure boat slowly moving down the Thames, observed from the steps of the Tate at Millbank, is simultaneously two bands of vibrant colour glowing against the almost-black of the middle ground. The combination of darkness with serenity, contrast with balance, seems to come out of nowhere, in a manner characteristic of Avery’s unique position in American painting.”

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