Richard Emil Miller
(with Female Nude on opposite side of panel)
n.d. (ca. 1910 – 20)
oil on wood, 26" x 23"
Gift of Mrs. E. L. Tuohy
his contemporary Frederick Frieseke, Richard Miller favored
the dappled light, strong patterning, and diagonal compositions
of French post-impressionists Edouard Vuillard and Pierre Bonnard,
together with the soft, sweeping gestures of figurative works
by Auguste Renoir. Miller’s subjects were almost exclusively
female, and he usually captured them during a moment of quiet
reverie. Each panel of this double-sided painting features
a female subject, one a seated nude, the other a woman sewing.
It is not known why Miller painted on both sides of the support
panel, since both works are of a high quality, and appear to
be finished compositions. His preference for one over the other
is also unknown, save for the fact that the nude is signed.
Along with American impressionist painters Guy Rose, Edmund
Greacen, Frederick Frieseke and Lawton Parker, Richard Miller
was known as a member of the “Giverny Group,” who
were of the second generation of American artists to study
and paint near the home of Claude Monet. After early study
at the St. Louis School of Fine Arts, where he also worked
as an artist-reporter for the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Miller
left for study at Paris’ Academie Julian (1898–1901).
He remained in France until at least 1914, working in various
Paris studios in the winters, and teaching his own summer classes
at Giverny and Normandy. Despite his lengthy stay in Europe,
Miller’s influence on American art was great, since he
instructed scores of Mary Wheeler’s students from Provincetown,
Massachusetts who made summer sojourns to France. On his return
to America, Miller taught with Guy Rose at the Pasadena Stickney
School of Art, greatly influencing California impressionism.
In 1918 he was a founder, along with Edmund Greacen, of the
Provincetown Artists Colony.