1924Artists Milton Avery and Sally Michel met in Gloucester.People and Communities, Arts and Culture, Notable People, Art

Milton Avery, March at a Table, Undated, Drypoint etching on paper, Cape Ann Museum, Gift of Robert L. and Elizabeth French, 2009, https://www.capeannmuseum.org/collections/objects/march-table/
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Avery first visited Gloucester in 1920. Sally Michel was a young art student when they met and the two married soon after. Michel knew Avery was passionate about his art and agreed to work to support the family as a freelance illustrator for a regular New York Times Magazine column in the 1940s and 1950s. She felt Avery’s work was more important, so overcame her own desire to make art. When possible, she painted side by side with Avery in New York and, in the 1950s, when Avery was more financially successful, attended Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony with him.

“We were followers of the sea. On the beaches of Provincetown, Gloucester, and Gaspe we braved the surf and rocky shore, spending endless hours contemplating the sea… Always the sea beckoned, at times with figures, at times with boats. But it was the sea, alternately black and mysterious or ruddy and gay that expressed the mystery and independence that makes its lure unfathomable. For Milton, this was a subject to challenge again and again.”

—Sally Michel Avery, “Avery and the Sea,” Milton Avery. Seascapes, Grace Borgenicht Gallery, January 1987

Oral history interview with Sally Michel Avery, 1967 November 3. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. “Works by Milton Avery.” Cape Ann Museum, https://www.capeannmuseum.org/collections/artists/milton-avery/. Smith, Roberta. “Sally Michel Avery, 100, Illustrator and Artist.” The New York Times, 26 Jan. 2003, https://www.nytimes.com/2003/01/26/nyregion/sally-michel-avery-100-illustrator-and-artist.html.
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