Herbert Halpern Fine Arts

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Kenneth Hayes Miller

Price: $175.00

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Kenneth Hayes Miller (AM 1876 - 1952) Woman Crouching – Etching, ca. 1920, 6 3/8 x 12 ½, signed in pencil. This piece is in excellent condition.

Born in Oneida, New York, in 1876, Kenneth Hayes Miller briefly attended the Horace Mann School in New York City before he abandoned ambitions of going to college and instead decided to pursue a career in art. Between 1892 and 1898 Hayes Miller enrolled in painting and drawing classes at the Art Students League followed by studying at the New York School of Art, where he studied under such instructors as Kenyon Cox and William Merritt Chase. He then went on to teach at the New York School of Art for over a decade, before finally settling at the Art Students League where he taught painting and composition classes until a year before his death in 1952.

Founded in 1875, the Art Students League was intended to provide an environment where both men and women could prepare for a life-long profession in the fine arts. Instructors at the League were allowed complete creative authority over their courses with no interference by the administration, giving students the opportunity to choose from a wide range of expressions. When Hayes Miller began teaching there in 1911, he used this freedom to start what League President Stewart Klonis called “a revolution” among the students. In his classes he combined his admiration of the techniques of the Renaissance masters with his desire to document the reality of contemporary urban American life.

Hayes Miller often depicted women in the urban scene as they filled societal roles as homemakers and consumers. In his own words, “I touch contemporary life in themes relating to shopping, but what has absorbed me has always been simply the body.” Rather than use models for his figure compositions, he adhered to the conventions of Old Masters such as Rembrandt, Rubens, and Titian to develop a standard female type who embodied traditional ideals of motherhood, nurturing, and femininity. In the print Department Store (1930), Miller’s shopper is thoughtfully considering merchandise with a saleswoman. The ample matrons are drawn as tubular, weighty forms, mimicking the columns in the background, and symbolize stability, vitality, and perseverance despite worsening economic times.