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 Lola Sleeth Miller  (1860 - 1951)

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Lived/Active: California/District Of Columbia/Iowa/Missouri      Known for: portrait bust, landscape and still-life painting, portrait sculpture, teaching

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Portrait of an Indian in Profile
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
I have found several errors in the biographies currently posted for Lola Sleeth Miller. I am including a corrected biography from my art collection web site. I have verified the majority of this biography using primary records, and the information about Lola's birthplace and spouses' names in particular.

Best Regards,
Kevin Daniel

Lola Sleeth Miller was born on 24 October 1860 in Memphis, Missouri, a daughter of Sterling Lynn McDonald and Electa Summerlin. Sterling was employed as a farmer in 1860 and was the Scotland County, Missouri County Clerk in 1870.

There seems to be confusion about Lola's birth date and place of birth, but her DAR application gives her birth date and place of birth, and would likely have been completed by her, personally. This is further supported by the 1860 and 1870 Federal censuses of Scotland County, Missouri, though the 1860 census was taken a few months before she was born.

Lola was married to Francis V. "Frank" Sleeth by 1880, and was married to Spencer Miller on 25 June 1931 at Bishop's Stortford, County Herts, England, the Miller ancestral seat. Lola is listed in the 1880 census with Frank Sleeth, who was 15 years her senior. Frank was employed as a traveling salesman, and they were living as boarders in the home of a retired minister in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa.

Lola was living in Washington D.C. in 1910, employed as a "teacher, school".  She was Director of Fine Arts at the Cathedral School for Girls in Washington D.C. from 1901 through 1931, according to a genealogy of the Miller family, though it seems possible that she held other posts there before attaining that office. The Cathedral School for Girls was founded in 1900, so Sleeth was certainly an early member of the faculty.

The Sleeths resided in San Francisco from 1892-1899 where Lola studied at the Mark Hopkins Art Institute under Douglas Tilden.  She later studied under James McNeill Whistler at the Academie Julian in Paris and also under Fredrick MacMonnies and Emil Carlson.

Lola can be found in every Federal census from 1870 through 1900, except for the 1900 census. She may have been out of the country studying at that time.  Her first husband died in New York City in 1901, according to the Miller family history mentioned above, so the Sleeths may have resided there briefly before Lola moved to Washington, D.C., and assumed her place at the Cathedral School for Girls.

She was a teacher, and painter in oils and watercolors, and sculptor in stone, for which she is perhaps best known. She exhibited at the California Building at the World Columbian Exhibition in Chicago in 1893, at the San Francisco Art Association 1893-1898, and at the California International Mid-Winter Exhibition in 1894.  She exhibited in Washington, D.C. by 1910 when she showed her work at the Society of Washington Artists, of which she was a member.

She was also a charter member of the Arts Club of Washington, and a member of the Washington Watercolor Club, San Francisco Art Association, San Francisco Sketch Club, and Laguna Beach Art Association.

Her work is part of the collections of several Washington, D.C. museums and institutions.  Marble busts by her are held by the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Constitution Hall, and the Cathedral Foundation.  A bust of Martha Washington by her is in the collection of the Valley Forge Museum and was used as the model for the one-cent stamp.

She is mentioned in Davenports Art Reference and Price Guide; Artists of California 1786-1840 by Hughes; The Artists of Washington D. C. 1796-1996 by McMahan; Dictionary of Women Artists by Petteys; Index of Artists by Mallett; Dictionary of American Painters, Sculptors and Engravers by Fielding; Who Was Who in American Art by Falk; and other art reference works.

I have found indications that she periodically traveled to California in the 1920s to paint, while living in Washington, D.C.

She is considered by some to be a California artist, but is also considered to be a Washington, D.C. artist.  She spent about the same amount of time in both places and studied, worked, and exhibited in both places.

The Millers moved to California about 1933 and Lola continued to work as an artist there. Lola died on 24 April 1951 in Laguna Beach, California.

 
 
   

            




This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Lola MacDonald (1860-1951) was born in Edina, Iowa on October 24, 1860.  She married Francis Sleeth and lived in San Francisco during 1892-99.  While there she studied at the Mark Hopkins Art Institute under Douglas Tilden.  She then studied with James McNeill Whistler and at Académie Julian in Paris, and with Frederick MacMonnies and Emil Carlsen in New York City.

In 1901 she began a long tenure as an art teacher in Washington, DC at Cathedral School for Girls.  In the early 1920s she began visiting Laguna Beach, California.  Following her marriage to Thomas Miller in 1931, she settled there where she remained until her death on April 24, 1951.

Her sculpture was primarily marble portrait busts of notable Americans.  As a painter her subjects included landscapes, portraits, still lifes, mining camps, and missions in oil and watercolor.

She was a member of the San Francisco Art Association; Washington Watercolor Club; San Francisco Sketch Club; and Laguna Beach Art Association.

Exhibited venues included the California Building at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, 1893; California Midwinter International Exposition, 1894;  Mark Hopkins Institute, 1898 (portrait).

Works held: Corcoran Gallery of Art; Cathedral Foundation, Washington, DC; Memorial Continental Hall, Washington, DC.


Submitted January 2006 by Steve Esland.

Source:
Edan Hughes, Artists in California, 1786-1940

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Lola MacDonald Miller Sleeth was born in Edina, MO on Oct. 24, 1860.  Lola MacDonald married Francis Sleeth and lived in San Francisco during 1892-99.  While there she studied at the Mark Hopkins Art Institute under Douglas Tilden.  She then studied with Whistler and at Académie Julian in Paris, and with MacMonnies and Emil Carlsen in NYC.  In 1901 she began a long tenure as an art teacher in Washington, DC at Cathedral School for Girls.  In the early 1920s she began visiting Laguna Beach, CA.  Following her marriage to Thomas Miller in 1931, she settled there where she remained until her demise on April 24, 1951.  Her sculpture was primarily marble portrait busts of notable Americans.  As a painter her subjects included landscapes, portraits, still lifes, mining camps, and missions in oil and watercolor. 

Member:  SFAA; Washington WC Club; Sketch Club (SF); Laguna Beach AA. 

Exh:  Calif. Bldg, World's Columbian Expo (Chicago), 1893; SFAA, 1893-98; Calif. Midwinter Int'l Expo, 1894. 

In:  Cathedral Foundation and Memorial Continental Hall (Washington, DC); CGA.
Source:
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
AAA 1914-33; KOV; Fld; WWAA 1940;  AAW; South Coast News, 4-26-1951 (obit); LA Times, 4-25-1951 (obit); Washington Post, 4-27-1951 (obit).
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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