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 Ada B. Miller  (1874 - 1956)

About: Ada B. Miller


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Lived/Active: Texas/California      Known for: Impressionist landscape painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Ada Miller (1874-1956)

She was born Ada Belle Carroll in 1874 in Sweetwater, Texas.  Her first husband, Sam O’Hara - a shepherd, disappeared.  Left with one young boy and another child (a girl) on the way, she struggled to get by.  She tried to do dress making; tried to open a small café and also took in washing.  In 1900, she married her 2nd husband, Robert Curley.  By 1902 her son quit school (10 years old) and pursued various odd jobs to help the family.  In 1904 her 3rd child, another son was born.  By 1908 her second husband died from consumption. 

Ada always liked to draw, so she began to sell her drawings.  They eked out what they could, but it was very hard.  In 1910 she and her children migrated to El Paso where it was easier to find work.  After her 1st son was drafted into the Army for World War I, and her daughter was married, she only had one child at home, so she was able to devote more of her time to painting.  She tried marriage again, this time to Frank Miller, a barber.  They bought a building on Yandell across the street from a public school.  This provided the front of the building for a barbershop and small grocery store, and the back for her studio and living quarters.  Ada sought lessons in oil painting that would bring her more money.  She studied with Lewis Teel, and later other artists in California.  Lewis Teel was her favorite.  In El Paso she painted landscapes of the Texas High Desert, foliage and flowers such as Texas Blue Bonnets, Cacti, Ocotillo, Mesquite.

The El Paso Museum of Art included Ada Miller’s work in their 2010 exhibit and book by the same name “Into the Desert Light: Early El Paso Art (1850-1960)”.  Her work is also included in the El Paso Museum of Art permanent collection.

In 1932, she and Frank Miller moved to Venice Beach, California.  After Frank Miller’s death in 1949, she lived near her 1st son’s family in Inglewood California.  She spent the rest of her days gardening, playing with her great grandchildren and painting.  In 1956 she peacefully passed away in her sleep, and is buried at Inglewood Park Cemetery.  Ada Miller is also considered an Early California Impressionist painter.

Hal Marcus Gallery 2010, El Paso,Texas; courtesy of Ada Miller’s granddaughter Dorothy M. (O’Hara) Erickson.
Submitted as as bulletin by Patricia Medici

These Notes from AskART represent the beginning of a possible future biography for this artist. Please click here if you wish to help in its development:
Ada B. Miller was a resident of Los Angeles in 1922.
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
city directory.
Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

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