milton wright artist, cape cod art gallery

Along the Seine, Paris 1949

Size : 15 x 18
Medium: Watercolor on Paper, Framed






MILTON WRIGHT (1920-2005)

Milton Wright was born in Dayton, Ohio in 1920, the grand nephew of the famous Wright Brothers. He exhibited an early talent in drawing, and was enrolled in classes at the Dayton Art Institute when he was just seven years old. He attended Fairview Highland School, and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1942 from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.


While studying painting at Miami University in Oxford, he met his mentor and lifelong friend, the Dean of the Fine Arts School, Marston "Bud" Hodgin, who was also a painter. It was Hodgin who, in 1938, introduced Wright to the artistic community in Provincetown. Wright returned to paint in Provincetown in 1946, 1947, 1950, and 1951.


During WWII, Milton was drafted into the Army Air Corps Training Film Unit in Denver, Colorado to make training films. After the war, Milton and his wife, Breene, sailed to France where Wright studied painting at the Academie Julian in Paris from 1948-1950 under the GI Bill. Their summers were spent on the Cote d'Azur and at Cros-de-Cagnes.


Painting en plein air under the Mediterranean sun radically changed Milton's palette and creative vision. The intensity, clarity, tone, and transparency of his work changed with the atmosphere and light of the region. At the same time Matisse was living in Nice and Picasso in Vallauris, Milton was painting in Paul Cezanne country, looking long and hard at the same landscapes that inspired Cezanne's own work. Milton's paintings from that period were shown in Paris at the Galerie Ariel in 1950.


Returning to New York City, Milton taught painting at the Brooklyn Museum Art School. During a teaching career that spanned more than 20 years, he taught at Brooklyn Poly Prep, Queen's College, and Long Island University, Brooklyn campus.


His own work was shown extensively at galleries including the A.F.I. Gallery, NYC; Harry Salpeter NYC; Milch Gallery, NYC; Washington Irving Gallery, NYC; Left Bank Gallery, Wellfleet, MA; Schoolhouse Gallery, Truro, MA; and others. His works are in the permanent collections of the Denver Art Museum, Miami University, Long Island University, Highland House Museum, Truro, MA, and Provincetown Art Association and Museum.


The Wright family continued to summer in the family's cottages at Great Hollow in Truro where Milton had a painting studio. In 1977, Milton Wright and family retired to the Cape and continued to live at Great Hollow Beach until his death in 2005.


Milton Wright's work captured the spirit and the mutability of the landscape wherever he painted. He referred to himself as a "colorist". His works from the 1950s and '60s are fascinating documentations of the era, and include the building of the Verrazano Bridge, the dredging of the East River, street scenes of Brooklyn, the ever-changing Truro landscape, and the dockworkers and active fishing boat scenes of Provincetown. His earlier works exhibit a strong palette with Cubist overtones, very different from his later works, which became more impressionistic in style. From his studio at Great Hollow, he was able to view the entire arc of the Cape to Provincetown and the lighthouse beyond. His energetic and almost frenetic brushwork in later paintings, - mostly landscapes, was a unique method he developed that heightened his bold use of color, making each blade of grass stand out along the dunes as an integral part of the Cape Cod landscape, drenched in sunlight and shadow.