Blue Sea

This object is only available as a thumbnail. Why?

Milton Avery

American, 1893 - 1965

Blue Sea, 1945

  • Not On View

Watercolor on paper

Dimensions: 22 × 30 in. (55.9 × 76.2 cm)
Framed: 28 1/2 × 36 1/2 in. (72.4 × 92.7 cm)

Bequest of Mary Mallery Davis, 1990.30

The work of Milton Avery was out of step with the prevailing art trends of his day. He remained committed to depicting the world around him in a representational manner, while a group of his contemporaries achieved star status with a new style of gestural Abstract Expressionism that rejected subject matter as outdated. In 1905, he briefly enrolled in a lettering class at the Connecticut League of Art Students in Hartford before transferring to life drawing. In 1925, Avery moved to New York City to be with Sally Michel, an artist he met in Gloucester in the summer of 1924.Gloucester, an area to which he repeatedly returned, likely served as the inspiration for Blue Sea, since he spent the summer of 1945 there, the year the watercolor was executed. The mid-1940s represents a turning point for Avery in several respects; besides achieving recognition, he began to further simplify his artistic conceptions, eliminating nonessential detail and taking a more forceful approach toward color. Much in the manner of Henri Matisse, he revels in the purely sensuous lines and contours of natural forms.Blue Sea contains many of the distinguishing characteristics of Avery's style: a lyrical sense of line, economy of detail (his faces rarely have features), spare compositions, the elimination of nonessential visual references, flattened spatial dimensions, irregular proportions, and a tranquil mood.

Image Permissions

Explore Related Objects


Bicycle Rider by the Loire, 1954
Milton Avery

Oil on canvas
1990.19


Poemes de Charles d’Orléans, 1950
Henri Émile Matisse

Lithograph on paper
2007.86


Derrière le miroir (Behind the Mirror), 1957
Henri Émile Matisse

Lithograph on paper
2010.201


Marriage à la Mode, Plate 1, "The Marriage Contract", 1795
William Hogarth

Engraving on paper
1964.25


Marriage à la Mode, Plate 2, "The Breakfast Scene", 1796
William Hogarth

Engraving on paper
1964.26


Marriage à la Mode, Plate 4, "The Toilette", 1798
William Hogarth

Engraving on paper
1964.28