March Avery (b.1932, New York) is a painter known for her use of intense, rich hues. The daughter of artists Milton Avery and Sally Michel, she began painting as a child. The creative family had a routine of staying at home in New York City over winter, where they predominantly painted in oil, and then, in summer, taking extended painting trips to locations such as Gloucester on the Massachusetts coast, the Green Mountains in Vermont, California and Mexico to work outdoors. Artist friends Mark Rothko, Adolph Gottlieb, Barnett Newman or Byron Browne often joined them. Growing up within these artistic circles, Avery always believed she would become a painter herself. Nevertheless, on her father’s advice, she studied philosophy, not art, at Barnard College, New York, graduating in 1954. Avery continued to paint; her work included in two early family exhibitions, ‘Milton Avery, Sally Michel, March Avery’ at New Arts Gallery, Atlanta, in 1962 and ‘Avery Family Group Show’ at the Rye Free Reading Room, New York in 1963. The Bruce Museum, Greenwich, CT staged an innovative retrospective of the three artists.
Established as a painter, March Avery continued her routine of punctuating winters working in her New York studio with trips outside the city: to the Catskill Mountains, Provence in southeastern France, or Paestum, the ancient Greek city in modern-day Italy. With no division between life and art, Avery’s oil paintings, sketches and watercolours depict domestic scenes, portraits of friends and family members, and landscapes visited and revisited throughout a lifetime. Avery’s mastery of colour brings life, immediacy of place and emotional depth to her compositions, while her flat picture planes, interlocking shapes and simple forms hold the works between abstraction and figuration. Today, Avery paints continually from her home studio in New York.
Avery’s work is represented in public collections, including the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY; Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, PA; Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA; Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland, ME; Long Island Museum of American Art, Stony Brook, NY; Newark Museum of Art, Newark, NJ; New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, CT; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA; Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN; Woodstock Artists Association & Museum, Woodstock, NY; among many others.