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Oak Grove

Period 1920-1949
Materials Oil on canvas
Dimensions
W. 24 in; H. 20 in;
W. 60.96 cm; H. 50.8 cm;
Creation Date c. 1932
Description Signed lower left. Complemented by a period hand carved and gilt frame.

R.A.D. Miller (1905-1966)

Robert Alexander Darrah Miller, called “RAD” by his friends was born in Philadelphia. He enrolled at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts from 1923 to 1927 under the tutelage of Daniel Garber. In 1928, Miller moved to Bucks County where he would meet and marry Celia Belden Marshall, daughter of Dr. George M. Marshall who at that time owned the Phillips Mill property.

Nearly a year later in 1929, a committee headed by artist, William Lathrop, negotiated to purchase the Mill property from Dr. Marshall for the purpose of holding art exhibitions. Thus, the Phillips Mill Art Association was formed. RAD Miller was a regular exhibitor at the Phillips Mill with the traditional New Hope Impressionists. Many of the original founders of the New Hope Art Colony, set in their ways, frowned upon the concept of Modernist painting. A decision was made by the Association to not include the growing group of modernist painters in the area to the exhibit with them at Phillips Mill. Although clearly not a traditional impressionist, Miller was not being excluded with the others, largely because his father in law formerly owned the Mill and was one of the Association’s boards of directors. RAD was sympathetic to his fellow modernists. In 1933, RAD Miller was one of the original members of the Independents, a group formed for Modernist artists who chose to embark on a more non-traditional creative path .They would exhibit in tandem with the Impressionists but at different locations.

Around the time of his arrival to New Hope in 1928, Miller struck up a friendship with Thomas Hart Benton, and in 1932 he worked under Benton on a mural project. RAD’s paintings bear great similarities to those of Benton as he has been dubbed “the Thomas Hart Benton of New Hope” by collectors and enthusiasts. Miller is known for his naturalistic landscape and still life paintings which have a feel unto themselves. He possesses an almost eerie and mysterious quality with rich velvety colors and a sense of isolation, seeming undisturbed by human activity. Miller’s art is one of New Hope’s best kept secrets as it is prized by collectors and rarely trades.

Miller had a wealthy Aunt and Uncle who were successful real estate barons in Palm Beach, Florida where he would often spend winters with his family. His late son, Shaun, spoke of winters spent with the family on a refurbished 130 foot schooner captained by RAD from Palm Beach to the Caribbean where they would live on board for months at a time, his father painting, while Shaun and his sister received schooling from tutors on board the vessel.

RAD Miller was a member of the Fellowship of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the New Hope Art Associates. He exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art (1934), the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts , Newark Art Club and the Philadelphia Art Alliance where his work was the subject the of a solo exhibition in 1950. His work is in the collections of the James A. Michener Art Museum, University of Pennsylvania, Reading Art Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the United States Congressional Art Collection in Washington D.C.

Sources: New Hope for American Art by James M. Alterman
-Conversations with Shaun Miller, artist’s son.1998-2002
-Bucks County Gazette, New Hope, December 29, 1966.
-The New Hope School of Art, summer session booklet, June,1940
New Hope , newspaper clipping , May 27,1933
Styles / Movements Modernism, New Hope School
Book References Illustrated in "New Hope for American Art"
Incollect Reference Number 197401
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