RICHARD EDWARD MILLER
"PORTRAIT OF A WOMAN IN BLUE DRESS," C. 1909
oil on canvas, 38 x 30 inches,
signed "Miller" lower right.
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Richard Edward Miller was later to become one of the leading members of the second generation of American Impressionists living and painting in the small French town of Giverny, the home of Claude Monet. After studying at the Académie Julian in Paris in 1898-99, Miller began teaching his own classes in Giverny as well as at the Académie Colarossi in Paris. He remained in France for over a decade, painting in a style that combined pure Impressionist color, exquisite brushwork, and strong draughtsmanship. He returned to the United States in 1914 at the outbreak of World War I, briefly moving to Pasadena, Calif., before finally settling down in Charles Hawthorne’s artist colony in Provincetown, Massachusetts.
Although its date indicates that it was painted in France, Portrait of a Woman in a Blue Dress foreshadows Miller’s work in Provincetown, which often features women seated in interiors suffused with light. An aura of cool blues and greens surrounds the sitter, enhancing her natural beauty while also suggesting the mood of her reverie. Even in this figural painting, Miller’s Impressionist fascination with light effects is evident in his treatment of the gauzy fabric around the sitter’s shoulders and of the reflections in the glass surface of the table.
Richard Miller exhibited extensively throughout his career, winning numerous medals and prizes at illustrious venues such as the Paris Salon, Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo, 1901; International Exhibition, Venice, 1907; National Academy of Design, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Art Institute of Chicago, and the Corcoran Gallery, Washington, D.C. His other honors include his knighthood in the French Legion of Honor and his membership in the National Academy of Design. His works are housed in prestigious private and public collections around the world, including the Luxembourg Gardens, Paris; Gallery of Modern Art, Rome; Museum of Fine Art, Antwerp; Art Institute of Chicago, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.