Milton Avery : the late paintings by Robert Carleton Hobbs
New York : Abrams, 2001. Hardcover. 112 pages ; illustrated ; 29 cm. A nice clean copy with unmarked pages and firm binding.
The painter Milton Avery is the among the most beloved of American artists. A cool modernist, he is known chiefly for his vividly colored landscapes and intimate scenes of family life. Long overshadowed by Abstract Expressionism, his art has recently begun to be reassessed and its place in the history of modernism restored.
Now that the 20th century has ended, we can see that Avery's late paintings, created between 1947 and 1963, stand at the crossroads of figurative modernism, Abstract Expressionism, and Color Field painting. These lambent, glowing landscapes and figure scenes approach abstraction but always retain a poetic link to the material world. Although Avery is frequently seen as the last of the American figurative painters, this book presents him as the forerunner of the new generation. His work provides a key to understanding artists in the United States in the modern era.
Robert Hobbs explores the development of Avery's painting in this crucial phase and draws insightful connections between it and Wallace Stevens's innovative poetry, written during the same period. This comparison will intrigue devotees of American poetry and American art.
A remarkable 1958 essay on Avery by the renowned critic Clement Greenberg, reprinted here, places the artist in the vanguard of an art that unites abstraction and representation, American ingenuity and an international sensibility. Altogether, this book takes a unique, many-faceted approach to the presentation of an exquisite group of artworks.
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