Milton AVERY (born March 7, 1885, Altmar, New York–died January 3, 1965, New York, New York) was born in New York and in 1898 moved with his family to Connecticut. From 1901 to 1911 he held many mechanical and construction jobs, but became interested in art while taking a lettering course at the Connecticut League of Art Students in Hartford. Avery continued classes there until 1918, when he entered Hartford's School of the Art Society. He moved to New York in 1925 and attended evening classes at the Art Students League. In 1927 Avery began exhibiting regularly in group shows. The following year, Avery and artist Mark Rothko became friends and Rothko, in turn, introduced Avery to Adolph Gottlieb and Barnett Newman, all leading Abstract Expressionist artists.
From 1935 on, Avery was represented by a series of top galleries in New York. He spent the summers of 1957 to 1960 in Provincetown, Mass., the scene of many of his paintings. Although rooted in American Scene tradition, Avery's work was too abstract to assign him a place in that group; and though he was a friend of the foremost Abstract Expressionists, his work was too representational to belong to the non-objective movements of the 1940s and 1950s. Avery's colorful, simplified forms, and explicit yet subtly toned contours, defy classification. The freshness and uncomplicated nature of his images linked him with other independent American modernists, such as Arthur Dove, John Marin and Lee Gatch.