Victoria Miro is delighted to participate in Art Basel with a three-person presentation of significant figurative works by Milton Avery, Alice Neel and Paula Rego.
With works from the 1930s onwards, the presentation features almost a century of figurative art by three of its most celebrated exponents. It comes at a time of special significance, with major institutional exhibitions by all three artists currently on view internationally and planned for the coming months.
The American master Milton Avery (1885–1965) is celebrated for his luminous paintings of landscapes, figures and still lifes. A pivotal figure linking American Impressionism and Abstract Expressionism, he is considered one of the twentieth- century's great colourists, a hugely influential figure who pursued an independent and steadfast course throughout his career. Featured paintings and works on paper range in date from the 1930s to the early 1960s and include Girl in Green, an important work from 1940 that underlines Avery's growing embrace of modernism as he continued to mature as a colourist and to simplify his pictorial compositions.
Organised by the Royal Academy of Arts, London, in collaboration with the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas, and Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut, a major retrospective of Avery's work commences at The Modern, Fort Worth this autumn (7 November 2021–30 January 2022), travelling to the Wadsworth Atheneum (24 February–5 June 2022) and the Royal Academy of Arts (15 July–16 October 2022). Currently on view at the Wadsworth Atheneum (until 17 October 2021), Milton Avery: The Connecticut Years presents an intimate look at the formative years of the modernist master.
One of the foremost American figurative painters of the twentieth century, Alice Neel (1900–1984) developed a unique talent for identifying particular gestures and mannerisms that reveal the singular identities of her sitters. Intimate, casual, direct and personal, her paintings exist as an unparalleled chronicle of principally New York personalities–both famous and unknown. Paintings on view include the double portrait Linus and Ava Helen Pauling, 1969, which depicts the great scientist and activist Linus Pauling, who won the Nobel Prize twice (in 1954 for chemistry and in 1962 for peace activism) and his wife, Ava Helen Pauling, a celebrated human rights activist.
The ambitious survey Alice Neel: People Come First, which ran from March to August 2021 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, will open at the Guggenheim Bilbao this autumn (17 September 2021–6 February 2022). Alice Neel: Un regard engage, the Centre Pompidou's major retrospective highlighting the political and social commitment of the painter, will open in Paris in October 2022.
An artist of uncompromising vision and a peerless storyteller, Paula Rego has since the 1950s brought immense psychological insight and imaginative power to the genre of figurative art. Drawing upon details of her own extraordinary life, on politics and art history, on literature, folk legends, myths and fairy tales, Rego's work at its heart is an exploration of human relationships, her piercing eye trained on the established order and the codes, structures and dynamics of power that embolden or repress the characters she depicts. Selected works include The Hateful Aunt and her Son, 2017, one of a number of works inspired by Bastardia, a 2005 story by the celebrated Portuguese novelist, playwright and poet Hélia Correia. One of themes of the story is the powerlessness of children in the face of adults. Rego's composition–with adults regally holding court above a group of children and dolls–accentuates the narrative's dynamics of power.
The largest and most comprehensive retrospective of Rego's work to date takes place at Tate Britain (7 July–24 October 2021). Additional current solo institutional exhibitions include Museum De Reede, Antwerp, Belgium (8 July–4 October 2021).