Sally Michel was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1902. She studied at the Art Students League in New York and spent her summers painting in East Gloucester, Massachusetts. During the summer of 1924, she met and fell in love with the painter in the neighboring studio, Milton Avery. They were married in 1926, and over the next 40 years, Michel and Avery painted side-by-side, acting as each other’s models, collaborators, critics, and champions. Together they developed a “high-modernist” style, based on their use of high-key colors, simplified shapes and semi-abstract forms.
During much of Sally’s life as a painter, her work went largely un-exhibited as she focused on promoting her husband’s work, as well as supporting their family as an illustrator. After her husband’s death in 1965, she began exhibiting her paintings under her maiden name and received quick critical acclaim. Her body of work includes landscapes and seascapes of her family’s favorite places, as well as scenes representing time spent with family and friends.