Bicycle Rider By The Loire

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Milton Avery

American, 1893 - 1965

Bicycle Rider by the Loire, 1954

  • Not On View

Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 38 × 55 in. (96.5 × 139.7 cm)

Bequest of Mary Mallery Davis, 1990.19

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contemporaries achieved star status with a new style of gestural Abstract Expressionism that rejected subject matter as outdated. Although his work was well regarded by other artists, he met with little critical and commercial success during his lifetime. 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, as seen in Bicycle Rider by the Loire. Much in the manner of Henri Matisse, he revels in the purely sensuous lines and contours of natural forms. He also turned to exceptional color combinations that produce resonant tonal harmonies, exemplified by the unusual juxtaposition of gold, maroon, and brown hues in Bicycle Rider by the Loire. Avery visited Europe for the first time in 1952; this trip included some time in France, where Avery surely drew the subject matter for this painting.Bicycle Rider by the Loire contains many of the distinguishing characteristics of Avery's style: a lyrical sense of line, economy of detail, spare compositions, the elimination of nonessential visual references, flattened spatial dimensions, irregular proportions, and a tranquil mood.

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