Born in 1902, Sally Avery, also known as Sally Michel, knew by the age of five that she wanted to be an artist. A modernist painter and illustrator, Avery worked in an early modernist style. She attended the Art Students League in New York and exhibited at the Child's Gallery in Boston.
In 1924, she spent the summer painting in East Gloucester, where she met and fell in love with the artist in the next studio, Milton Avery. At this time in his career, Milton Avery was painting Impressionist works and was living with his mother in Connecticut. He soon followed Sally to New York. Two years later, they were married.
For the next forty years, the two artists were inseparable. They were each other's model, collaborator, critic and champion. Together they created a style of "high modernist" painting that is most often solely attributed to Milton's hand.
Although they painted side by side, their purposes were quite different. Sally made no effort to exhibit or sell her art, but instead managed Milton's career and the Avery household. For many years, it was her work as an illustrator for "The New York Times", children's books, and other publications, which supported the family.
During the summer, the Avery family would often spend their vacations traveling throughout New England, Canada, Mexico, and Europe from their home in New York. Their excursions were often in the company of their close friends and fellow artists, Mark Rothko, Adloph Gotlieb and Barnett Newman.
By the mid-1950s, their daughter, March, had grown up and Milton's works had finally begun to sell. Both enabled Sally to devote more time to her own painting (still largely for her own pleasure). She exhibited at a handful of shows during the decade.
Solo Exhibition, D. Wigmore Fine Art, Manhattan
The National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.
The Metropolitan Museum, NY
The Wadsworth Athenaeum
The Corcoran Gallery