Charles Henry Miller Biography

Charles Henry Miller




Painter and printmaker Charles Henry Miller was born in Long Island, New York, on March 20, 1842, to Jane Taylor Miller and Jacob Miller, a successful Queens-based architect and builder. Though he wanted to pursue art, his father insisted that Miller become a practicioner of law or medicine. He therefor focused on homeopathy, graduating from the New York Homeopathic Medical College in 1863. The young student also enrolled in art classes at the National Academy of Design and at eighteen he entered an oil in an exhibition at the school's annual student exhibition.

Discouraged by the lack of interest shown by government medical institutions in homeopathic medicine, Miller instead became a doctor on the Black Ball line packet vessel, the Harvest Queen. During his first trip on the route between New York and Liverpool and back again, the ship experienced two instances of mutiny and attempted escapes by the crew; Miller captured these events in sketches. Inspired to pursue his newfound interest in drawing, he went on an excursion throughout Europe and Britain while the Harvest Queen was docked for repairs, capturing his observations. On his return to the States, he was fully immersed in visual arts. He quit medicine to pursue drawing and painting full time, enrolling once more at the National Academy.

In 1867 he traveled to Munich to study at the Bavarian Royal Academy, training at the studio of landscape painter Adolf Leir. He also traveled to Dresden, Berlin, Vienna, England, and Paris - where he studied with Barbizon artists and where he likely learned etching. He returned to the U.S. three years later, settling at his parents Queenslawn estate. He began establishing a career in the venerated New York art world with clear division among the younger and older artists, finding accolades among the former and disgust by the latter for his European-influenced style - considered at the time to be radical. His involvement on the hanging committee for the school in 1877 led to protests by the school's tenured professors and to Miller's eventual banishment from the committee - as well as to more admiration and support from fellow students. He would remain an active and influential supporter of new, modern techniques and styles throughout his career. 

After the death of his father in 1874, Miller received a large inheritance which allowed him to remain an independent artist for the remainder of his life. He worked and exhibited consistently, participating in national and international shows. In 1885 he was elected president of the New York Art Club, and in 1883 he was elected preseident of the American Committee at the Munich International Exposition. Miller was also a co-founder of the New York Etching Club. In 1885, he published The Philosophy of Art in America under the his distant family surname De Muldor (choosing Carl as his first name).

He focused primarily on the life and landscapes of Queens and East Marion, Long Island, where he purchased a summer home around 1910. He founded the Queens Borough Allied Arts & Crafts Society in 1910 and continued to travel between the two towns throughout his career. Miller died in Queens on January 21, 1922. His work can be found in numerous museums and galleries throughout the United States.

Gold medal, World's Exposition, New Orleans, 1885
Gold medal, Massachusetts Charitable Association, 1878

Selected exhibitions:
National Academy of Design, New York, NY, 1860-61, 1865-67, 1870-1921.
Brooklyn Art Association, Brooklyn, NY, 1872-84, 1891-92
Artist's Fund Society, New York, NY, 1874, 1886
Century Association, New York, NY, 1874-1917
Philadephia Centennial Exhibition, Philadelphia, PA, 1876 (prize)
Society of American Artists, New York, NY, 1878-82
Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association, Boston, MA, 1878 (prize)
Paris International Expo, Paris, France, 1878, 1889
American Watercolor Society Exhibition, New York, NY, 1879
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA, 1879-99
Bostin Art Club, MA, 1880-1907 (prize)
Union League Club, New York, NY, 1880
Lotos Club, New York, NY, 1880, 1896, 1889-1900, 1906
Salons of Paris, France, 1882
International Exhibition, Munich, Germany, 1883
New Orleans Expo, LA, 1885 (prize)
Art Institute of Chicago, IL, 1888-89, 1891, 1894-98, 1904
Fifth Avenue Art Gallery, New York, NY, 1889
World's Columbian Expo, Chicago, IL, 1892
Ferderick A. Chapman Gallery, New York, NY, 1898
Miller Studio Exhibition, New York, NY, 1901
Brooklyn Museum Opening Exhibition, NY, 1902
Silo Galleries, New York, NY, 1902
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. 1908
American Red Cross Exhibition at the American Art Galleries, New York, NY 1922
DaFalco Art Gallery, New York, NY, c. 1922