By the 1950s, Milton Avery's life and work had changed dramatically. While a heart attack in 1949 left the artist somewhat physically weakened, his creativity was rejuvenated. Avery's work from this period is clearly instilled with a new vigor and direction as he began to strive for a more unified visual scheme. Details started to fade out of his images as a result of Avery's new focus on the overall harmony of his paintings.
Horse and Trainer is a lively example of this harmony that Avery sought and achieved during the 1950s. The work demonstrates his new interest in balance in palette and in composition. The highly saturated colors in the lower and upper regions are countered by the cool strips of gray that runs through the center of the canvas. Broad, unbroken areas of color are balanced by the vertical stripes and stylized trees in the background. Colors and compositional elements seem to fade into each other harmoniously.
In 1951, Avery wrote: "I work on two levels. I try to construct a picture in which shapes, spaces, colors, form a set of unique relationships, independent of any subject matter. At the same time I try to capture and translate the excitement and emotion aroused in me by the impact with the original idea."(as quoted in B. Haskell, Milton Avery, New York, 1982, p. 156) Horse and Trainer illustrates the way in which these two levels melt into a single harmonious painting.
This work will be included in Dr. Marla Price's forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the works of Milton Avery.