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Nude with Guitar

1947 Milton Avery Born: Sand Bank, New York 1885 Died: New York, New York 1965 oil on canvas 42 x 30 in. (106.7 x 76.2 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Louis and Annette Kaufman 1977.43.1 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 4th Floor, 42A

Luce Center Quote

"I am not seeking pure abstraction; rather the purity and essence of the idea expressed in its simplest form." The artist, quoted in Hobbs, Milton Avery, 1990

Luce Center Label

Milton Avery was often dismissed as a naive painter because he did not seem as sophisticated as the elite abstract expressionists who took the stage after World War II. Avery borrowed this figure's pose from Picasso, and, in fact, Nude with Guitar reflects Avery’s knowledge of modern literature as well as painting. He was fond of Wallace Stevens's 1937 poem "The Man with the Blue Guitar," based on Picasso's famous Blue Period image. The poem praised the power of art to transform everyday moments into transcendent experiences, and the guitar became Avery's personal symbol of this power, appearing in many of his canvases (Hobbs, Milton Avery, 1990).


Figure - full length

Figure - nude

Object - furniture - chair

Object - other - container

Performing arts - music - guitar


paint - oil

fabric - canvas

About Milton Avery

Born: Sand Bank, New York 1885 Died: New York, New York 1965

More works in the collection by
Milton Avery