Fine Art PR Publicity Announcements News and Information
Fine Art PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Milton Avery & the End of Modernism at the Nassau County Museum of Art

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. – Milton Avery

The Nassau County Museum of Art will present Milton Avery & the End of Modernism January 22, 2011 through May 8, 2011.

“Milton Avery & the End of Modernism” looks at work by the artist who brought the sketch, with its spontaneity, movement and fleetingness, to the status of a finished painting. The exhibition features Avery’s intense saturated color fields, the simplification of form, and figures that emphasize the flatness of canvas surface. “Milton Avery & the End of Modernism” opens at Nassau County Museum of Art (NCMA) on January 22, 2011 and remains on view through May 8, 2011. It is organized for NCMA by Museum Director Karl E. Willers, Ph.D. The exhibition was organized by the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, State University of New York. It was funded, in part, by the New York State Council for the Arts, a state agency; the Friends of the Neuberger Museum of Art; and the Westchester Arts Council. For presentation at NCMA, the exhibition was expanded as “Milton Avery & the End of Modernism.”

This exhibition examines the contributions of Milton Avery as a significant figurative painter from the late 1920s through the early 1960s. “Milton Avery & the End of Modernism” takes a concerted look at the development of Avery’s signature paintings from his idiosyncratic drawing style that captures the essence of a person, place or time. According to Dr. Willers, this places Avery’s work within a long history of modernist practice that recognizes the artist’s sketch as a “final, complete and a self-sufficient work of art.” Within the emergence of his avant-garde style, said Dr. Willers, Avery can be seen as one of the preeminent American painters of his time, exerting great influence among both his contemporaries and subsequent generations of artists.

Further assessing Avery’s place in American art history, Patterson Sims wrote in an essay for the Whitney Museum of American Art: “Early in Avery’s career, when Social Realism and American Scene painting were the prevailing artistic styles, the semi-abstract tendencies in his work were viewed by many as too radical. In the 1950s, a period dominated by Abstract Expressionism, he was overlooked by critics because of his adherence to recognizable subject matter. Nevertheless, his work, with its emphasis on color, was important to many younger artists, particularly to Mark Rothko, Adolph Gottlieb, Barnett Newman, Helen Frankenthaler, and other Color Field painters.”

The museum is sponsoring several informative programs in connection with Milton Avery & the End of Modernism, among them two Tea & Tour events featuring exclusive docent-led exhibition tours and introductions by Museum Director Karl E. Willers, Ph.D., the organizer of the exhibition; an illustrated talk by art historian Charles A. Riley II, Ph.D.; and a series of three lectures on the exhibition by Dr. Willers. For details, log onto or call (516) 484-9338, ext. 12.

Nassau County Museum of Art is located at One Museum Drive (just off Northern Boulevard, Route 25A, two traffic lights west of Glen Cove Road) in Roslyn Harbor. Hours are 11 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Docent-led tours of the exhibition are offered at 2 p.m. each day; meet in the lobby, no reservations needed. Admission to the galleries in the Arnold & Joan Saltzman Fine Art Building is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors (62+) and $4 for students and children (4-12) and includes same day admission to the Art Space for Children (Tuesday-Sunday, 12-4:30 p.m.). Members are admitted free. There is a $2 parking fee on weekends (no charge to members). The Museum Gift Shop is open during museum hours. Grace’s Café is open Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Nassau County Museum of Art is chartered by New York State as a not-for-profit private educational institution and museum. A privately elected Board of Trustees is responsible for its governance. The museum is funded through income derived from admissions, parking, membership, special events, private donations and corporate sponsorships, as well as federal and state grants. Exhibitions are supported in part by generous donations of the Board of Trustees, Museum Council, Contemporary Collectors Circle, Corporate members, and other friends of the museum.

Image: Milton Avery Little Fox River, 1942-43 Oil on canvas 36 x 48 inches Permanent Collection of the Neuberger Museum of Art Purchase College, State University of New York; Gift of Roy R. Neuberger

Call (516) 484-9337 for current exhibitions, events, hours and directions or log onto

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