Nachume Miller (1949–1998) was a German born Israeli artist who immigrated to New York City in 1973, where he made a name for himself in the American Modern Art scene. Miller immigrated to New York to study at the School of Visual Arts, where he would later become a professor of painting and drawing. He was quickly identified as a star on the rise and at the age of 29, was included in the Guggenheim Museum’s “Young American Artists,” Exxon National Exhibition. A decade later he was granted a solo show at the Museum of Modern Art, where his work is now part of the permanent collection. Though his career was cut short by his untimely death in 1998, Nachume exhibited at some of the most prominent galleries in New York and around the world.
Miller's parents were both Holocaust survivors. His father was a captain in the front lines of the Russian Army during World War II and his mother was a Lithuanian who had once been held captive in a concentration camp. Both escaped the Nazis, re-united and fled to Israel. Nahum was born during their voyage, in Frankfurt, Germany, on January 28, 1949. He grew up in the town of Holon, Israel, where he was inspired by his father who spent most of his post-war days carving elaborate wood sculptures of Cubist human forms. Nachum, on the contrary, excelled in painting.
By the age of 16, Miller was painting elaborate surreal dream lands referencing religion, politics and the history of Modern Art. His earlier works show similarities to Hieronymus Bosch, Salvador Dali and Francisco Goya. Miller was enlisted in the Israeli Army where he worked as one of Ariel Sharon's personal assistants and also fought in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. He went to New York in 1966 to study at the School of Visual Arts, and joined the faculty in 1977 to teach painting and drawing. He was enlisted in the Israeli Army and fought in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. That same year, he received a scholarship from the Israeli-American Cultural Foundation. He married his girlfriend Ruth and moved to New York to study at the School of Visual Arts. In 1977, he joined the faculty to teach painting and drawing.
Over the next two decades, Nachume was prolific in the range of media, styles, and references he incorporated into his art. His paintings and three-dimensional works pay homage to artists throughout history, from the classical Greeks to Robert Rauschenberg. He prioritized craft over concept and was a disciplined painter, never neglecting workmanship in favor of a trend. His work is marked with curiosity, sincerity and intensity.
Cara McCarty, an assistant curator in the department of architecture and design, organized the current show. It reveals Mr. Miller as someone who finds common ground with both Turner and Jackson Pollock - with the former's Romantic re-creations of storms at sea and with the latter's search for content in abstract gesture.
Selected One-Person Exhibitions
1976: "Drawing Show", Bertha Urdang Gallery, New York
1981: "Figures", A&M Artwork, New York
1988: Exit Art, New York; "Projects: Nachume Miller", Museum of Modern Art, New York
1989: E.M. Donahue Gallery, New York
1990: "Nachume Miller: Views", E.M. Donahue Gallery, New York
1993: "Sensual Painting", E.M. Donahue Gallery, New York
1994: The Genia Schreiber University Art Gallery, Tel Aviv University
Selected Group Exhibitions
1968: "10+ For and Against", Tel Aviv
Aviva Uri, Michael Druks, Nahum Miller, Izzika Gaon, Izzika Raffi Lavie.
1970: "10+ In a Circle", Tel Aviv
Moshe Gershuni, Buky Schwartz, Igael Tumarkin, Reuven Kadim (Berman),
1972: "Symbols and Imagination", Artists' Pavilion, Tel Aviv; "July '72", Gallery 220, Tel-Aviv
1975: "The Work of Nine Graduates of the School of Visual Arts", New York; 112 Greene Street Gallery, New York; "Group Indiscriminate", 112 Green Street Gallery, New York
1976: "8 Israeli Artists", Bertha Urdang Gallery, New York
1978: "Young American Artists", Exxon National Exhibition, Guggenheim Museum, New York
1979: The Kadishman Connection Israel Museum, Jerusalem
Menashe Kadishman, Larry Abramson, Yaacov Agam, Nachum Miller, Jacob El Hanani,Samuel Bak, Koki Doktori, Yocheved Weinfeld, Boaz Vaadia, Marcel Janco, Lea Nikel.
1979: "Three Artists", 22 Wooster Gallery, New York; "Group Show", Israel Museum, Jerusalem
1980: "Gallery Artists", A&M Artwork; New York; "Exaggeration", Edward Throp Gallery, New York
1981: The Drawing Center, New York
1982: Susan Caldwell Gallery, New York; "The Americans: The Collage", Contemporary Art Museum, Houston, Texas; "Summer Show", Roger Litz Gallery, New York; "Four Painters", Roger Litz Gallery, New York; "Critical Perspective", P.S.1, New York; "New Drawings in America", The Drawing Center, New York
1983: "Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibition (LACE)", New York - Los Angeles Exchange, Los Angeles; "Short Memory", Arta Stucio, Milan, Italy
1985: "Relative Meaning: The Figure in Context", Hallwalls, Buffalo, New York; Exit Art, New York
1986: Barbara Toll Gallery, New York; "Consensus", Exit Art, New York
1988: Tibor De Nagy Gallery, New York; "New Visions of the Apocalypse", Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island; "Drawing Show", Tomoko Ligouri Gallery, New York; "Summer Show", David Bietzel Gallery, New York
1989: "Landscape", Tibor De Nagy Gallery, New York; "Summer '89", E.M. Donahue Gallery, New York; The Butler Institute, Ohio; "The Dark Sublime", Scott Allan Gallery, New York; "The Spectacle of Chaos", KAOS Foundation Inc., Chicago
1991: "Summer Show", E.M. Donahue Gallery, New York; Jean Spedden Gallery, Carlston, S.C.; "Expressive Drawings", The New York Academy of Art, New York; "Working with Wax", Tibor De Nagy Gallery, New York
1992: "Vision of Culture and Nature", Bratlebovo Museum and Art Center, Vermont; "Color and Subject", The Artists Museum, New York; "Three Painters", Tibor De Nagy Gallery, New York
1993: "Drawing Show", E.M. Donahue Gallery, New York
1994: "Le Temps d'un dessin", Galerie de L'ecole Des Beaux de Lorient, France
1994: "Tohu Bohu" / Esthetiques de la Complexite Fractale, Galerie De L'Etoile, Paris, France
1995: "Le Temps D'un Dessin", Galerie De Lecole Des Beaux De Lorient, France
1995: "Fractal Complexity", Galleria Art, Turino, Italy
1995: Group Show, Gallery Karin Sachs, Munich, Germany
1995: "Pure Painting", Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, Boulder, CO
1995: Art Fractal, Galerie Angle Art Contemporain, Drome Pro Vencole, France
1996: Contemporary Directions/Jacqueline Holmes, The Haskell Building, Jacksonville, FL
1996: "Microcosmos", The University of Georgia, Athens, GA
1996: "A Chaos of Delight", Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts
1998: The Boundaries of Language, Perspectives on Israeli Art of the Seventies Tel Aviv Museum
2001: Love at First Sight: Vera and Arturo Schwarz Israeli Art Collection Israel Museum, Jerusalem
2008: My Own Body: Art in Israel, 1968 - 1978 Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv