Seabirds on Sand Bar
Milton Avery, American, 1893 - 1965
In this spare painting, Avery pushes figuration to the limits of abstraction. Eleven white birds perch on a thin, pink sandbar completely surrounded by the blue sea. The artist masterfully conveys his close observation of nature with a minimum number of brushstrokes: each bird is rendered with just a few quick touches of paint. This simple, serene work exemplifies Avery's mature style. It was painted toward the end of his career, in 1960, the year of his retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.