We take a look at what critics thought of the Royal Academy’s exhibition devoted to the American artist.

Husband and Wife, 1945 by Milton Avery. © 2022 Milton Avery Trust/ Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York and DACS, London

The Observer: ***** “The Royal Academy’s show (with around 70 works, the most comprehensive ever held in Europe) is rich in every period and resonantly uplifting.”

The Arts Desk: *** “While his paintings always refer to things seen, the next generation used colour to evoke thoughts and feelings rather than to describe the visible world. The influence went both ways, though, and this makes me see Milton Avery less as a pioneer than an independent spirit who dipped his toe in the mainstream yet remained determinedly to one side of it.”

The Upcoming: **** “It is interesting to see the experimentation throughout his career, the magpie-like picking up of different influences. Mostly we think of artists as being driven by a singular vision from the start, but others develop and it is interesting to see that across the 70 paintings on display here.”

The Independent: **** “The Royal Academy’s substantial exhibition puts this post-war painter into the spotlight – it’s an enlivening experience”

The Telegraph: **** “The Royal Academy’s new show reveals a first-rate artist whose flexible brilliance was also arguably his handicap”

The Times: **** “If Avery paved the way for Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman, then it was a yellow-pink-and-cobalt brick road. He was America’s first great modern colourist with a bracing, racing-silk palette. Never heard of him? You won’t be the only one. This is the first Avery exhibition in Europe.”

Milton Avery: American Colourist is on display at the Royal Academy of Arts until the 16th October.


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