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Peter Miller
Midsummer Night, Spiritual and Surrealist Landscape by Female Modernist

1939

About the Item

"Midsummer Night" is a 14 x 18 inches, oil on canvas painting by American modernist and surrealist, female artist Peter Miller. The work is painted in a vibrant color palette. The work is signed, dated, and titled "Peter, October 1939, Midsummer Night" on the original stretcher, and the canvas is estate stamped #202029 on verso. The painting has been conserved and inspected by conservation specialist, Gratz Gallery & Conservation Studio, Inc. Exhibition history: Forgotten Woman of American Modernism, Gratz Gallery & Conservation Studio, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, 2022. Provenance: Estate of the Artist; Private Collection, Saugerties, New York; Gratz Gallery & Conservation Studio, Doylestown, Pennsylvania. Image rights: Peter Miller in Her Studio Julien Levy Gallery Records, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Library and Archives American artist Peter Miller (1913-1996) was born Henrietta Myers in Hanover, Pennsylvania. She began using the name Peter Miller after concluding her studies at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1934 and her marriage to fellow artist and Academy student Earle Miller in 1935. She felt collectors and critics would take her paintings more seriously if she was identified as a male. In childhood, Henrietta and her best friend Ruth picked fictitious nicknames for themselves, and Henrietta reportedly decided upon the name Peter because she liked the idea that it was derived from the Greek word for “rock” or “stone”. Drawn to being one with the natural world would prove to be an essential inspiration to her creativity throughout her life. Miller is classified as an American Modernist, a reputation she earned for having shown at the prestigious gallery and premiere showcase for Surrealist painting of Julien Levy in New York in the 1940s. Reviewers of her exhibitions noted the unmistakable influence of the artists Joan Miró, whose work she owned and whom she knew, and Arthur Carles, whom she studied with, and sources in Native American culture, which came from sharing time between her home state of Pennsylvania and New Mexico. She and her husband Earle split their time between Pennsylvania and their ranch in Espanola, New Mexico. Bordering the San Ildefonso Pueblo and developing a trusted friendship with the Native Americans, she was greatly inspired by their culture and rituals, as well as by the deeply rooted love for their land. Peter's admiration for the beauty of the terrain evoked a sensuality in her work that was represented in her focus on spirituality through deep color saturation. Peter Miller was an artist, a philanthropist, a mystic, and a woman of endless passion for nature, spirituality, and exploration. Her artwork was infused and inspired by this immersion into the spiritual world. Every painting of Peter’s is a story, reflecting her heart and soul, allowing her beliefs in all metaphysical things to shine through in her work. She believed in exploring the magical realm; telepathy, synchronicity, alchemy, ESP, and tarot card reading. The concept of the collective subconscious captivated her curiosity and imagination. Peter was a highly intellectual woman, her knowledge and interest in ancient cultures, history, and architecture is often reflected in her body of work. Steeped in the principles of theosophy, and being very familiar with the Transcendental Painting Group (TPG) of her peers, Peter Miller still remained independent in her artistic language and continued to explore her own unique vision of nature and spirituality. Peter Miller's artwork has been exhibited most notably at The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (1954, 1969); Julien Levy Gallery, New York (1944, 1945); Santa Fe State Art Museum (1935); The Woman, Art of this Century, Peggy Guggenheim (1945); Modern Art Gallery, Santa Fe (1948); 150th National Academy of Design/New York (1975); Lacarda Gallery, New York (1975); Olympia Gallery, Philadelphia, PA (1975); The Schoolhouse, Downingtown, PA 1992). One critic and longtime supporter called her work "that rare combination of incurable romantic and classical empiricist".
  • Creator:
    Peter Miller (1913 - 1996, American)
  • Creation Year:
    1939
  • Dimensions:
    Height: 17.25 in (43.82 cm)Width: 18.25 in (46.36 cm)Depth: 1.5 in (3.81 cm)
  • Medium:
  • Movement & Style:
  • Period:
  • Condition:
    Artwork has been cleaned, varnished, and inspected by a professional art conservator. A detailed condition report is available upon request.
  • Gallery Location:
    Doylestown, PA
  • Reference Number:
    1stDibs: LU1402211825782
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