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 John Miller  (1931 - 2002)

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Lived/Active: United Kingdom      Known for: landscape and seascape painting

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Ad Code: 3
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from Auction House Records.
St. Ives Bay
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

John Miller (1931–2002) was an English artist born in London who became famous for his idyllic representation of beach scenes in his home county of Cornwall.  Most of his paintings were of the West Penwith peninsula and Tresco in the Isles of Scilly.

During the 1970s John Miller emerged as a cultural figurehead within Cornwall.  He became well known as a painter of popular, Monet-like Cornish scenes (many of which were cheaply reproduced as prints for the tourist trade), as an art teacher, a television personality, a patron of local charities and an active supporter of the Church of England.  He was also responsible for some high profile architectural projects including a reordering of the interior of Newlyn Art Gallery.

At an advanced stage in his career John Miller’s artistic style underwent a radical change and by the mid-1990s his work (but not always his name) had become known worldwide as a result of the mass production and distribution of cheap posters, prints and cards with reproductions of his distinctive beach paintings: he produced the first of these in what was to become recognized as his trademark style in 1992.  The paintings themselves, which Miller continued to produce in large numbers until his death in 2002, became highly sought after and were only available through selected London galleries at successive annual exhibitions which usually sold out well before their official opening dates.

John Miller was elected to become a member of the Newlyn Society of Artists in 1961.  John Miller, a household name in Cornwall since the mid-1970s, is an artist whose work continues to have an extremely high public profile, both in the UK and internationally. In a 2003 survey (for the periodical 'Art Business Today') of 200 United Kingdom high street gallery owners whose businesses specialized in posters and popular art reproductions, Miller was listed alongside Monet and L.S. Lowry among the ‘top-four’ best-selling landscape artists and fifth - above Van Gogh (7th), Picasso (8th), and Matisse (10th) - in a list of the current ‘top-ten’ best-selling deceased artists in all genres.  John Miller’s work was the subject of academic investigation by a postgraduate student at the University of Kent, Canterbury, England in 2004-2005.


This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

John Miller was born in London in 1931.  He studied and worked as an architect before relocating to West Cornwall in 1958 in order to become a full time painter.

In 1961 he was elected to the Newlyn Society of Artists and served as chairman for a number of years, planning the first modernisation of the Newlyn Art Gallery in 1968.  In 1964 John was awarded a fellowship of the Royal Society of Arts.  In 1975 he held his first solo exhibition in London at the Anthony Fortescue Gallery and went on to show regularly at The Brotherton Gallery, Walton Street.  From 1982 to 1999 John exhibited with David Messum Fine Art before moving to the Portland Gallery in 2000.

Exhibiting regularly in London, New York, Vancouver and Europe John began to acquire a huge following, and popular reproductions of his work showcased both his talent and the unique beauty of West Cornwall to the wider public.

In later life John traveled widely and produced a body of work inspired by the landscapes of Venice, Italy and Goa, India.  Alongside his passion for art, spirituality was a central theme of both his life and work, evidenced most notably in his collection of deeply personal ‘Interior’ paintings.  Having considered at one time becoming a monk, he was a committed third order Franciscan and in the early nineties became a lay canon of Truro Cathedral.

After a short illness, John died on 23rd July 2002 at his home in Penzance.


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