Sally Michel (1902-2003) was 17 years his junior when she married Milton Avery (1885-1965) in 1926. A painter herself, she provided income as a freelance illustrator for 30 years while he painted full time. He never had a studio, and worked in their living room.
The view that Avery worked for decades to achieve a final blast of brilliance seems as antediluvian as the idea that he worked alone in a style that overpowered his wife’s work. First of all, they were more or less joined at the hip, working side by side, looking at and talking about art, for 40 years. As other art historians have suggested, it may be impossible to think of their style as anything but collaborative, especially since Michel was an illustrator, adept at abbreviating forms.
(Roberta Smith, “A Singular American Painter and His Perennially Disregarded Wife,” NYTimes, 5-12-22)
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