MILTON AVERY (1885-1965)
MILTON AVERY (1885-1965)
MILTON AVERY (1885-1965)
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MILTON AVERY (1885-1965)
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On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial int… 显示更多 Visionary: The Paul G. Allen Collection
MILTON AVERY (1885-1965)


32 x 44 in. (81.3 x 111.8 cm.)
Milton Avery Trust, New York.
Knoedler & Co., New York.
Private collection, New York (acquired from the above, 1999); sale, Christie's, New York, 30 November 2011, lot 7.
Acquired at the above sale by the late owner.
R. Hobbs, Milton Avery, New York, 1990, pp. 146 and 151 (illustrated in color, p. 146).
University of Houston, Sarah Campbell Blaffer Gallery; Mexico City, Museo de Arte Moderno de Mexico; Museo de Monterrey; Caracas, El Museo de Bellas Artes and Newport Beach, Newport Harbor Art Museum, Milton Avery: Avery in Mexico and After, August 1981-July 1982, p. 21 (illustrated in color).
New York, Grace Borgenicht Gallery, Milton Avery: Mexico, February-March 1983, illustrated.
Memphis, The Dixon Gallery and Gardens; Santa Fe, Gerald Peters Gallery; Museum of Fine Arts of St. Petersburg; Montgomery, Blount, Inc.; Salt Lake City, Salt Lake Art Center; Chattanooga, Hunter Museum of Art and Tucson Museum of Art, Milton Avery's Mexico, April 1984-June 1985, pp. 13 and 32, no. 17 (illustrated in color, p. 32).
On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial interest in the outcome of the sale of certain lots consigned for sale. This will usually be where it has guaranteed to the Seller that whatever the outcome of the auction, the Seller will receive a minimum sale price for the work. This is known as a minimum price guarantee. This is such a lot.


Max Carter
Max Carter Vice Chairman, 20th and 21st Century Art, Americas


Milton Avery embarked on annual summer sojourns to glean inspiration, completing large oil paintings when back in his New York studio based on his sketches and watercolors of the local landscapes. In 1946, the artist and his family departed from their usual destinations in New England and summered in Mexico. They enjoyed a thorough road trip through the country, stopping in major cities and small villages, lakeside towns and mountainous Acapulco, enamored with the diverse beauty. The artist’s wife Sally Avery recalled, “Milton had filled a number of sketchbooks and had painted about forty watercolors. And we all had fallen in love with an outstanding country – Mexico!” (Milton Avery: Avery in Mexico and After, New York, 1981, p. 10).
Inspired by this fruitful trip, Cactus illustrates the artist’s mastery of color and form, and uncanny ability to capture a sense of place through his unique, modernist lens. Robert Hobbs writes of the present work, “Among his major works of Mexico is Cactus (1946), which joins orange sky and brown and reddish earth with green, blue, and pink cacti to create an engaging, high-keyed picture whose color choices appear logical and inevitable” (Milton Avery, New York, 1990, p. 146). Indeed, Cactus delights in its undulating forms evocative of the natural Mexican landscape, with a palette reminiscent of the arid climate offset by luminous pops of whimsical cool tones. Avery uses his signature technique here using the back of his paintbrush to create expressive, wispy cacti spines, elevating the scene to a visual feast of texture, color and form.
As Fernando Gamboa and Carla Stellweg write, “A long list of poets, filmmakers, writers and artists have felt the attraction of Mexico. They have often traveled great distances to find themselves in order to discover Mexico itself both as subject matter and as the source of their most creative work. Milton Avery is, undoubtedly, one of those artists whose work best reflects a sensitive, expansive yet intimate visual experience of Mexico” (op. cit., p. 21). One of the finest examples of the artist’s Mexican subjects, Cactus embodies “an exemplary mastery through which Avery achieves without technical flourishes, the maximum visual expression” (ibid., p. 21).

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