Edward Avedisian

In the 1960’s, Edward Avedisian was one of the youngest of those luminaries producing a grand new abstract painting. Shown first at Ivan Karp and Dick Bellamy’s Hansa Gallery and then at Robert Elkon, Avedisian’s insouciant mix of pop playfulness, color field cool
and high formalist style put his art in a unique, and at the time generously rewarded, position. Paintings made it onto the cover of Artforum, were purchased by all the major museums, were among the few abstract works shown as representative of America’s
post-war achievement at Expo 67 in Montreal and comprised a cornerstone in histories of the period written by Barbara Rose, among others.

Yet, Avedisian left New York in the mid-1970’s, moving upstate along the Hudson River, severing his exhibition ties. Had Avedisian merely left New York City to establish his studio in a quieter place once his position was secure, had he continued to develop the
abstraction for which he became known, then this would be just another permutation of the life lived by many successful artists of his generation. But, as these new paintings indicate, Avedisian’s break was far more deeply expressed.

Over the past twenty years Avedisian has developed a new style: figurative, ostensibly naive, contentious. The world Avedisian paints is that of his upstate environs and he does so with a disarming directness. At the core of his new paintings lay a furtive sense of
narrative: tow pick-ups are parked beside a farmhouse, a couple repose behind roadside billboards, men work on their trucks. Avedisian, always contemporary, has evolved into a
different kind of American painter. After becoming a cosmopolitan maestro in the sophisticated symphony of sixties abstract painting, Avedisian has become provincial in the most explicit sense. It will be an interesting reconciliation between Avedisian’s early achievement and his mature work. This mature work is, in many ways, a challenge.

Male Nudes

Beach Balls

Large Stripes

Criss Cross

Large Vertical Stripe Paintings

Large Paintings


Acrylic on Paper and Panel

Watercolor on Paper

Additional Acrylic on Paper

Additional Acrylic on Panel

Additional Large Paintings

Ink on Paper

Additional Watercolor on Paper

Representational Works on Paper

Additional Works on Paper

Graphite on Paper

Representational Paintings on canvas

Additional Representational Paintings on Canvas

Personal Photos




Published: August 23, 2007, NY Times

Edward Avedisian, who helped establish the hotly colored but emotionally cool abstract painting that succeeded Abstract Expressionism in the early 1960s, died on Friday in Philmont, N.Y.He was 71 and lived in Hudson, N.Y. His death, at a nursing home, followed a period of declining health, said his son, Joseph Avedisian.

Mr. Avedisian was best known for his work in the 1960s: brilliantly colored, boldly composed canvases that combined Minimalism’s rigor, Pop’s exuberance and the saturated tones of Color Field painting.

A frequent motif was a cluster of bright seedlike orbs corralled at the center of a vibrant monochrome field by larger rings of color, creating an image that could resemble a buoyant cross-section of some unknown fruit.

Mr. Avedisian was born in Lowell, Mass., in 1936 and studied art at the BostonMuseumSchool. By the late 1950s he was living in New York, part of a generation of promising young painters that included Frank Stella, Larry Poons and Darby Bannard.

From 1958 to 1963 Mr. Avedisian had six solo shows in New Yorkgalleries, including two at the Robert Elkon Gallery, where he continued to show almost every year until 1975. By the early 1960s Mr. Avedisian was a rising star. During that decade, his work appeared on the cover of Artforum, in “The Responsive Eye” exhibition of Op Art at the Museum of Modern Art and in four annuals at the Whitney Museum of American Art. His paintings were widely sought by collectors and acquired by major museums in New York and elsewhere.

In the mid-1970s Mr. Avedisian moved to Hudson and became less visible. His paintings soon began shifting toward representation; he took to calling his abstract paintings “a period style.” But he continued to be well served by his feeling for color, scale and surface. His landscapes described his surroundings in blunt, flat shapes and singing hues reminiscent of those of Marsden Hartley and Paula Modersohn-Becker, but also had an undeniably contemporary verve. In the 1980s he also made bright abstract sculptures from painted Styrofoam.

In 1996 Mr. Avedisian showed his paintings from the 1960s at the Mitchell Algus Gallery, then in SoHo. His last show, dominated by recent landscapes, was in 2003 at Mr. Algus’s gallery, now inChelsea.

Mr. Avedisian’s marriage ended in divorce. His partner, Judson Baldwin, died last year. In addition to his son, Joseph, of Brooklyn, he is survived by a grandson.

Avedisian by Mitchell Algus In the early 1970s, after a successful decade as one of the brightest young artists pioneering color field painting, minimalism and pop-abstraction, Edward Avedisian bid adieu to the art world and New York City and moved to sub-bucolic upstate New York. Ensconced in the less-than-genteel shabbiness of small town decay, Avedisian began to paint his new, imperfectly rural scene. Here men work on their pickups until they accumulate sufficient bad repair that they run no more. They sell lumpy pumpkins from the backs of permanently parked flat-bed trucks or spend their days propped against the banisters of second storey back porches and their nights drawing drinks against the cold — or the heat — in edge-of-town bars. Avedisian sets this scene with rough glory against the same still-glorious backdrop that Frederick Church so preciously painted into the American consciousness. But Avedisian's landscape is nothing if no longer precious. This is today's exurbia: picked over, diversely occupied, and still beautiful. At an intriguing remove, Edward Avedisian's Hudson Valley parallels Marsden Hartley's Maine coast. But where Hartley's landscape was coarse and heroic, Avedisian's is a bold and laconic reverie. His is a very secular pantheism. If Avedisian's new paintings at first present themselves as a break with his past achievement, they soon reveal themselves to be part and parcel of a singular aesthetic. Clear, complex color, blunt, playful illusion and assertive form still dominate. When asked why he changed styles so radically, Avedisian replies with typical pointedness: "Modernism is a period style." As an adjunct to his paintings Avedisian has made abstract sculpture over the past twenty-five years. The only time these have been seen in New York was at The Grey Art Gallery in 1979 in an exhibition with the painter Richard Hennessy. Also included in the current show are a couple of Avedisian's earlier abstract paintings. Edward Avedisian was born in Lowell, Massachusetts. He showed in New York at Ivan Karp's and Dick Bellamy's Hansa Gallery and at the Robert Elkon Gallery. In LA he showed with Nicholas Wilder. Avedisian's work has been included in several Whitney Annuals, in the Museum of Modern Art's Responsive Eye exhibition and many other museum shows. The artist's work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Whitney and the Guggenheim Museums.

Born 1936 Lowell, MA Died 2007 Hudson, NY

Boston Museum School
University of Kansas, Artist-in-Residence, 1969
School of Visual Arts, NY, Artist-in-Residence, 1970
University of California, Irvine, Artist-in-Residence, 1972
University of California, Los Angeles, Artist-in-Residence, 1973

Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, 1967
National Council of the Arts Award, 1968


2010 Edward Avedisian Retrospective Carrie Haddad Gallery, Hudson, NY
2003 Mitchel Algus, NYC
2002 Carrie Haddad Gallery, Hudson, NY
1999 Mitchel Algus, NYC
1996 Mitchel Algus, NYC
1995 Carrie Haddad Gallery
1984 Jason McCoy, Inc., NY
1979 Fishbach Gallery, NYC
1978 The Carriege House, NYC
Nina Freudenheim Gallery, Buffalo, NY
1977 Gray Art Gallery, NYC
1975 The Carriage House, Buffalo, NY
Robert Elkon Gallery, Houston, TX
1974 Janie C. Lee Gallery, Houston, TX
Robert Elkon Gallery, NYC
1973 Robert Elkon Gallery, NYC
1972 Robert Elkon Gallery, NYC
1971 Jack Glenn Galery, Corona del Mar, CA
Walter Moos Gallery, Toronto
Robert Elkon Gallery, NYC
1970 Bucknell University Art Gallery, Lewisburg, PE
Robert Elkon Gallery, NYC
1969 Nicholas Wilder Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
1968 Nicholas Wilder Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Robert Elkon Gallery, NYC
1967 Kasmin Limited, London
Robert Elkon Gallery, NYC
1966 Kasmin Limited, London
Robert Elkon Gallery, NYC
Nicholas Wilder Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
1965 Kasmin Limited, London
Nicholas Wilder Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Robert Elkon Gallery, NYC
1964 Galerie Ziegler, Zurich
Robert Elkon Gallery, NYC
1963 Robert Elkon Gallery, NYC
1962 Robert Elkon Gallery, NYC
1960 Tibor de Nagy, NYC
1959 Tibor de Nagy, NYC
1958 Hansa Gallery, NYC
Tibor de Nagy, NYC
1957 Hoylston Print Center Gallery, Cambidge, MA

2004 Haddad Lascano Gallery, Gt. Barrington, MA
Richard Sena Gallery, Hudson, NY "Resilience"
2003 Hudson Opera House, Hudson, NY "South Bay"

1994 Warren Street Gallery, Hudson, NY "Works on Paper"
1989 Vrej Baghoomian Gallery, NYC "Landscape"
1983 Storm King Art Center, NY
1981 Pittsfield Museum, Pittsfield, MA
Robert Elkon Gallery, NYC
1980 Grey Art Gallery, NY University, NYC
1977 Grey Art Gallery, NY University, NYC
1971 The Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, NY "Graphics from the Collection of Marine Midland Bank"
The Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, NY "Six Painters"
1970 Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, IN "Painting and Sculpture Today"
Chicago Art Institute, Chicago, IL "69th American Exhibition"
Darmstadt, Germany "International Drawing Exhibition"
1969 Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI
"The George Waterman Collection"
Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, IN "Painting and Sculpture Today ‘69"
Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC, "Annual Exhibition of Contemporary American Painting"
1968 Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC "Painters Under 40"
1967 Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC "Annual Exhibition of Contemporary
American Painting"
Boston Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA, "Paintings from Expo ‘67"
Expo ‘67, Montreal, "American Painting Now"
SF Museum of Fine Arts, SF, CA, R.Rowan Collection "Color Painting"
1966 The Jewish Museum, NYC "Harry Abrams Family Collection"
1965 Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC, "Young American 1965"
Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC, "Annual Exhibition of Contemporary American Painting"
The Museumof Modern Art, NYC, "The Responsive Eye"
1964 Gallery of Modern Art, Washington D.C.
1963 Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC "Annual Exhibition of American Painting"
Dayton Art Institute, Dayton OH, "Dayton Art International"

1979 Greens, San Francisco, CA
Desert Cafe, Santa Fe, NM

Museum of Modern Art, NY
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NY
Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Whitney Museum of American Art, NY
The Wadsworth Athenaeum, Hartford, CN
The Larry Aldrich Museum, Ridgefield, CT
Minneapolis Society of Fine Arts, MI
Los Angeles County Museum, CA
Pasedena Museum, CA
Chrysler Art Museum, Provincetown, MA
Neuberger Museum, SUNY, Purchase, NY
Minneapolis Institute of Arts, MI
The Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY

Link to a memoir by Douglas J. Penick: