A plein-air and impressionist
painter as well as illustrator, Richard Miller was especially known for his
paintings of female figures in sunlit interiors. He was part of the American
art colony in Paris during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, staying from
1898 to 1914 when World War I began. His reputation in France was so
distinguished that he was made a Chevalier in the Legion of Honor.
Returning to the United States, he taught at the Stickney School in Pasadena, California from 1915 to 1917 and was a member of the California Art Club, dedicated to "plein-air" painting. He then became a prominent painter in Provincetown, Massachusetts and Provincetown, Rhode Island where, as a teacher at the Mary Wheeler School, he took students to Giverny, France for many successive summers.
Miller's early painting was tonalistic, and included a series of night scenes of Paris, but his association with Frederic Frieseke lightened his palette and placed him among the American Impressionists in France. Miller's "favorite color combinations are juxtapositions of greens and purples . . .(Gerdts 270)
He was born in St. Louis, Missouri and began the study of art at age 10. From 1893 to 1897, he attended the St. Louis School of Fine Arts and then got a job as illustration artist for the St. Louis Post Dispatch. He earned a scholarship to go to Paris in 1898, and studied at the Academie Julian with Benjamin Constant and Jean Paul Laurens. In 1901, he became a teacher at the rival school, the Academie Colarossi.
In Paris his good friends were artists who, like Miller, became well-known in American art circles--Guy Rose, Frederick Frieseke, and Lawton Parker. They painted together at Giverny and socialized with Claude Monet at his home.
He died in 1943 in St. Augustine, Florida.
According to Peter Falk, the frequently used middle name of Emil for Miller is a mistake.