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Conversation in Studio

A work made of oil on canvas.
© 2018 Milton Avery Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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  • A work made of oil on canvas.




Milton Avery
American, 1885–1965

About this artwork

Milton Avery was an American artist known for his study and usage of color, often referred to as a precursor to Color Field painters. His work frequently bridged the gap between realist and abstract art. The four figures in Conversation in the Studio have not been identified; however, meetings like these were a common occurrence in both Avery’s New York apartment and art studio. American artists such as Mark Rothko and Adolph Gottlieb among others would often stop by to see and discuss Avery’s work, while Avery in turn would sketch the gatherings and conversations taking place around him. The artist himself addressed this tendency, asking “why talk when you can paint?” The flat color fields and textured application of thin paint layers give shape and structure to the elegantly dressed figures and their surroundings. By the 1940s, Avery was increasingly using a nonnaturalistic palette to create mood in his paintings, as the bright-blue and green faces of the men demonstrate.


Currently Off View


Arts of the Americas


Milton Avery


Conversation in Studio


United States (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Oil on canvas


Approx.: 106.7 × 91.4 cm (42 1/16 × 36 in.)

Credit Line

Bequest of Roy R. Neuberger

Reference Number



© 2018 Milton Avery Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Extended information about this artwork

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