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 Sally Avery Michel  (1902 - 2003)

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About: Sally Avery Michel


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Lived/Active: New York      Known for: abstract figure, landscape, illustrator

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BIOGRAPHY for Sally Michel

New York

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abstract figure, landscape, illustrator

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A modernist painter and illustrator, Sally Michel, also known as Sally Avery, worked in an early modernist style.  She attended the Art Students League in New York and exhibited at the Child's Gallery in Boston.

In 1926, she married artist Milton Avery, and they worked together closely as each other's models and critic, and some persons have suggested that her husband, Milton Avery, used many of her ideas in his paintings.

In deference to raising her family, she put her husband's career ahead of her own but did sell illustrations to The New York Times.  After her husband's death, she has received increased recognition.

Peter Falk, Who Was Who in American Art

Biography from Childs Gallery:
Born in 1902, Sally Avery knew by the age of five that she wanted to be an artist. After high school, she continued her studies at the Art Students League in New York City. In 1924, she spent the summer painting in East Gloucester, where she met and fell in love with the artist in the next studio, Milton Avery, (1893 - 1965). At this time in his career, Milton Avery was painting Impressionist works and was living with his mother in Connecticut. He soon followed Sally to New York. Two years later, they were married.

For the next forty years, the two artists were inseparable. They were each other's model, collaborator, critic and champion. Together they created a style of "high modernist" painting that is most often solely attributed to Milton's hand.

Although they painted side by side, their purposes were quite different. Sally made no effort to exhibit or sell her art, but instead managed Milton's career and the Avery household. For many years, it was her work as an illustrator for "The New York Times", children's books, and other publications, which supported the family.

During the summer, the Avery family would often spend their vacations travelling throughout New England, Canada, Mexico, and Europe from their home in New York. Their excursions were often in the company of their close friends and fellow artists, Mark Rothko, Adloph Gotlieb and Barnett Newman.

By the mid-1950's, their daughter, March, had grown up and Milton's works had finally begun to sell. Both enabled Sally to devote more time to her own painting (still largely for her own pleasure). She exhibited at a handful of shows during the decade.

In more recent years, several retrospectives have been mounted; her paintings have been included in several museum exhibitions throughout the country, and are part of the permanent collections of The National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C., The Metropolitan Museum, NY, The Wadsworth Athenaeum, The Corcoran Gallery, and many other fine public and private collections.

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