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Richard Emil Miller
(American, 1875–1943)
Woman Sewing
(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

Like 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.

 
 
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