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 Ralph Rillman Miller  (1915 - 1993)

About: Ralph Rillman Miller


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Lived/Active: New York/Washington / South Africa      Known for: portrait and landscape painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following biography, submitted March, 2009, is from Ralph Miller, PhD., son of the artist.

My father, Ralph Rillman Miller, was born in 1915, December 8 in Wayne, Pennsylvania.  His mother and father were Ralph Rillman Miller Sr., and Grace Annetta (Andr ews) Miller.  His only sibling is Robert Edwin Miller who currently resides in Everett WA. Early in the 1920's, the family moved from Wayne to Seattle, WA.

In his teens, Ralph Miller became interested in archery as a sport and eventually, after winning numerous tournaments on the West Coast, won the national archery championship at the age of 19. 

He attended the University of Washington in Seattle, and married Margaret Winifrid Donald of Hawaii in 1937.  During WWII, he went to work at the Boeing plant near Seattle obtaining his position as a model maker on the strength of some statuary and drawings he had done earlier.  At Boeing he worked on the strategic bomber, the B-17G, and after the war, the Boeing Stratocruiser.

He moved the family of Margaret and a son and daughter to New York City in 1947.  In 1951, in a change in careers, Miller became Assistant to the Director of the Museum of the City of
New York.  He then completed his degree in art history and at the Museum, mounted several exhibitions, which were noted for their innovative approach.   One of them, "The Sounds of New York", featured street cries from the early years of Manhattan along with a recreation of an early New York street scene.

During this period, Miller resumed his avocation in oil painting in the traditional European
style.  He extensively researched the Renaissance painting technologies often making his own paints from basic materials.  Eventually becoming director of the Museum, Ralph Miller retired in the mid 1960's and embarked on a full-time career as a fine artist.

He placed his paintings with several New York galleries and continued his studied in traditional oil painting methods.  Eventually, while studying in Florence, Italy he met and married his third wife, who was from South Africa.  The couple moved to Cape Town where Miller continued his work in portrait and landscape painting as well as passing on his technical knowledge and skills until his death in 1993.  His landscapes were known for their detail and color depth.

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