Milton Avery (1885-1965)
Milton Avery (1885-1965)
Milton Avery (1885-1965)
3 更多
MILTON AVERY (1885-1965)

Sleeping Nude

MILTON AVERY (1885-1965)
Sleeping Nude
signed and dated 'Milton Avery/1950' (lower left)
oil on canvas
26 x 42 in. (66 x 106.7 cm.)
Painted in 1950.
The artist.
John Gelert, Connecticut, acquired from the above.
Private collection, wife of the above.
Makler Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, acquired from the above.
By descent to the present owner, 1961.
H. Kramer, Milton Avery: Paintings 1930-1960, New York, 1962, p. 28, pl. 55, illustrated (as Nude Reclining).
New York, Grace Borgenicht Gallery, Milton Avery: Retrospective and Recent Paintings, December 8-27, 1952.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Makler Gallery, Milton Avery, April 19-May 22, 1976, no. 21.


Tylee Abbott
Tylee Abbott Vice President, Head of American Art


Milton Avery’s Sleeping Nude takes a sophisticated and modern approach to the traditional theme of the odalisque, popularized by artists such as Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres and Édouard Manet. The central figure relaxes against warm and luscious bands of walnut, black and purple tones. In quintessential Avery fashion, the composition emphasizes the flatness of the picture plane with his color-blocked forms. Likewise, his patterned application of paints adds a dynamism and complexity to the image. As Hilton Kramer has praised, “There are hazards in this approach to the figure, but Avery has somehow side-stepped the greatest of these, namely, a sense of fixity that would deprive his figures of animation.” (Milton Avery: Paintings, 1930-1960, New York, 1962, pp. 17-19) As exemplified by Sleeping Nude, Avery once stated, “I work on two levels. I try to construct a picture in which shapes, spaces, colors form a set of unique relationships, independent of any subject matter. At the same time I try to capture and translate the excitement and emotion aroused in me by the impact with the original idea.” (as quoted in R. Hobbs, Milton Avery, New York, 1990, p. 172)

As seen in Sleeping Nude, Avery’s commitment to combining representation and abstraction has left an indelible mark on generations of Post-War American painters. His commitment to his two-dimensional surface, color-blocking and simplification of forms not only paved the way for the Color Field painters of the 1960s, but was also influential for the work of Abstract Expressionists Mark Rothko, Adolph Gottlieb and Barnett Newman. Indeed, the background’s large bands of pigment in Sleeping Nude recall Rothko’s immersive canvases of pure color from the same period, such as Purple Brown (1957, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, California). Rothko in fact acknowledged Avery’s influence and notably remarked, “Avery is first a great poet. His is the poetry of sheer loveliness, of sheer beauty. Thanks to him this kind of poetry has been able to survive in our time. This—alone—took great courage in a generation which felt that it could be heard only through clamor, force and a show of power. But Avery had that inner power in which gentleness and silence proved more audible and poignant.” (as quoted in K.E. Willers, Milton Avery & The End of Modernism, exhibition catalogue, New Paltz, New York, 2011, p. 34)

Avery’s unapologetic practice in representational painting also paved the way for an entire generation of post-War American figure painters, including Alex Katz, Alice Neel, John Currin and George Condo. It is Avery’s powerful yet subtle imagery that has been instantly recognizable and immediately appreciated by generations of diverse artists and collectors.

更多来自 美国艺术