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Melvin O. Miller  1937 - 2007   

Read Miller's Obituary  published in the Baltimore Sunpapers on Dec. 1, 2007

 

Born in Baltimore in 1937, Melvin O. Miller graduated from the Maryland Institute of Art in 1959. As a student of Jacques Maroger, Ann D. Schuler, and Earl Hofmann, he became interested in the mediums and techniques of the 15th - 18th century Flemish and Italian Masters, and he has assisted Franklin Redelius in the research of those masters.

 

The Maryland Institute of Art awarded him an honorary BFA degree in 1996.

 

Melvin Miller was a member of the famed "Six Realists of Baltimore" in the early 1960's.  That group included: Joseph Sheppard, John Bannon, Frank Redelius, Earl Hofmann, Thomas Rowe and Evan Keehn, all early students of Jacques Maroger. Their showings drew thousands to their downtown Baltimore gallery.

 
... "Often paintings by the Six Realists were juried into the annual exhibitions at The Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio. Most notable was the inclusion of work by Sheppard, Rowe and Miller in the 1962 Annual at The Butler Institute, [that stood] along with work of Ben Shahn and Edward Hopper." 1 
 

Miller's  primary  subjects included Baltimore cityscapes, boats and ships of the Chesapeake,  streetcars and the car barn's that housed them, occasional floral pieces.  We have also included some drawings, and works inspired by his travels  Because of his technique, and focus on oil painting, he was called, "the Canaletto of Baltimore."

 

On four occasions, AT&T commissioned him to paint their various cable ships. He is mentioned in several of the various "Who's Who" type publications and  completed over 1900 oil paintings..  In 1965, Miller was awarded $1,000 from the Stacey Foundation, a California organization that held annual national competitions for artists working in the conservative or realistic manner.

 

Mr. Miller and a partner, Nancy Lee Conrad, maintained the Conrad-Miller Studios, teaching schedules, and gallery space in Baltimore's Fells Point for 18 years. 

 

Until his passing in November of 2007, Miller resided and maintained his studio in Woodlawn, MD where he methodically produced his oils using the same formulas and techniques the Flemish and Italian masters had perfected 5 centuries earlier.  Miller actively painted up to his death.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Miller at work, 2004

 
   
 

 

   
 

Partial Gallery List

   
 

Foxhall Gallery

   
 

Washington D.C.

   
  Nassau Gallery    
  Rehoboth, NJ    
  Kirsten Gallery    
  Seattle, WA    
       
  Patrons - Short List    
       
  Contact Information    
 

If you would like more information on  Melvin Miller and his art,  email:

   
     
 

Robin Grubb

   
       
 

 

   
 

 

   
 

 

   
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
                                                 
                                                 
                                                 
                                                 
                                                 
                                                 
1  From Joseph Sheppard, 50 Years of Art                
                                                 
  Read excerpts from Joseph Sheppard, 50 Years of Art - The Early Years              
                                                 
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Published in the Baltimore Sunpapers on Dec. 1, 2007

by Jacques Kelly  Sun reporter
                                                 
Melvin O. Miller
                                                 

Melvin O. Miller, an artist whose oil paintings depicted Baltimore scenes of streetcars, harbor tugs and wooden market sheds, died of a heart attack Monday at St. Agnes Hospital. The Woodlawn resident was 70.

                                                 

Mr. Miller belonged to a group known as the Realists of Baltimore, artists who rejected abstract expressionism of the 1950s and employed luminous paints based upon ancient formulas. He stored 300 pigments in apothecary jars in his studio.

                                                 

"He had a way of capturing the activity on the streets of Baltimore," said fellow artist and friend Nancy Conrad, with whom he shared a Fleet Street studio. "He loved the city, and he had one focus in his life, his artwork."

                                                 

Born in Baltimore and raised on South Fulton Avenue and later in Woodlawn, he was a 1955 Milford Mill High School graduate. He earned a degree in 1959 from what is now the Maryland Institute College of Art, which later awarded him an honorary degree in recognition of his work.

                                                 

He studied under French-born Jacques Maroger, who developed a student following at the Institute and at his studio at the Evergreen mansion in North Baltimore. With his group, he imitated the complicated formulas and techniques of the 15th to 18th-century Flemish and Italian masters. This type of painting became to be known as the Maroger method.

                                                 

"Melvin was very dedicated to the technique," said Frank Redelius, another member of this group and a Northeast Baltimore
resident. "He was also the recorder of Baltimore."

                                                 

Mr. Miller chose city locations for his works - the No. 6 Firehouse in Oldtown, the old Ford's Theater on Fayette Street and crumbling buildings in the path of highways. He carefully dated his paintings and recorded their locations in notes written in brown ink.

                                                 

The darkened streetcar barns, which he painted from memory, figured in his works. He found that red streetcars outsold yellow ones.

                                                 

"The warm brown drawings in Melvin Miller's notebooks are as fine and detailed and evocative as the lines and folds and calluses in the palm of an old friend's hand," said a 1987 Evening Sun profile of him. "They picture Baltimore during a generation of transition. And the sweet and dowdy and sometimes mean old city that once seemed as fixed and unvarying as a copperplate portrait has turned out to be as fragile as the ink in which Miller records it."

                                                 

The article said he painted "great buildings, of course, and familiar vistas. But he also draws the plain, anonymous rowhouses and workshops that give the city shape and tone and perhaps soul."

                                                 

"I have become sort of a historian," Mr. Miller said of his work at the time. "Some of these things are not with us any more."

                                                 

At his death, Mr. Miller had an uncompleted painting of the Hippodrome Theatre on his easel. A red Eutaw Street streetcar
passed its blazing marquee.

                                                 
Survivors include a sister, Ruth Hughes of Mount Pleasant, N.C.; and a niece, Robin Grubb of Concord, N.C.
                                                 
Graveside services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday at Lorraine Park Cemetery in Woodlawn.
                                             

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