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Avery, Sally, Mrs.

American, 1902 - 2003

Avery, Milton Mrs.; Avery, Sally Michel; Michel, Sally


Sally Michel Avery was the wife of painter Milton Avery (1885-1965) and an artist-illustrator in her own right. The couple met in 1924 at the at the artist colony in Gloucester, Massachusetts, where Sally had arrived from Brooklyn and Milton from Hartford to spend the summer painting. The following year Avery moved to New York to be near Sally; they were married in Brooklyn on 1 May 1926. After a honeymoon in Avery's childhood home of Hartford, Connecticut, the couple lived in a one-room apartment in Lincoln Arcade, a studio complex at 1931 Broadway. Their social life revolved around artists in the building; recreation consisted of circus and burlesque shows, and swimming at Coney Island. Sally made the decision to support them both by becoming a free-lance illustrator, so that Avery could concentrate on his art. She began by illustrating for the "Progressive Grocer", edited by her sister, earning a modest salary and in 1940 began working for the New York Times Magazine, illustrating a weekly feature called "Child and Parent." Because Milton and Sally shared the same studio space, they spent virtually every day together from the time of their marriage until Avery's death in 1965. Their daughter March was born in 1932. Sally chose the titles for most of her husband's work. Avery's artistic independence throughout his career owed much to his wife's financial and moral support. The Averys later moved to Greenwich Village so March could attend the Little Red School House, a grammar school popular among artists and intellectuals. March followed the family tradition by becoming a painter herself.

Sally Avery remained active as a painter into the late 1980s.

The New York Times Biographical Service, 29 August 1982 [on Milton Avery].
Hobbs, Robert. Milton Avery. New York, 1990.
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