Figure painter Richard Edward Miller is credited as a leading member of the American art colony in Giverny, France and as a major player in the Impressionism movement in Southern California.
He was born in Missouri and 1875 and by the age of ten had decided to study art. He studied at the St. Louis School of Fine Arts and upon completion, took a job with the "St. Louis Post Dispatch" illustrating news items. In 1899 he was the recipient of a scholarship to the Academie Julian where he would study under Paul Laurens and Benjamin Constant.
When his studies were complete he would take work as an instructor at the Academie Colarossi. While working at the school he would continue to paint, primarily figures of women in luxurious surroundings or quite often portraits and scenes of Dutch peasants. He relied upon a pale palette, and very distinct draftsmanship as his primary style.
Early on he developed a fondness for "Japonisme" and collected the many props used to produce such scenes. Additionally, around 1905 he would produce a series of Parisian night scenes in his same, prevalent style.
Miller would win gold medals for his work at the Paris Salons in 1901 and 1904, and in 1906 he was appointed a Knight of the French Legion of Honor. In 1907 his reputation was cemented when the French government purchased one of his works for the Luxembourg Museum.
While conducting classes in Giverny in the early 1900s, Miller began to become interested in the Impressionist style of painting, and by 1906 was employing some of the techniques and elements of it in his work. Miller still chose elegant women in lovely, sun soaked environments as his subject, only now the treatment of light, and his palette choices, would vary slightly.
With the approach of World War I, Miller would decide to leave the French countryside and return to the safety of the United States. He stayed briefly in both New York and St. Louis before settling in Pasadena, California. He began teaching at the Stickney Memorial School of Art where he would work to spread the Impressionist technique and method throughout the Southern California art scene.
By 1918 he had returned to the East Coast where he settled permanently in the Provincetown, Massachusetts area. His attention began to turn towards marine subjects during this time, though he would always be known for his lovely female figural paintings.
His works are in museums around the world, including those in Paris, Belgium, Venice, and the United States.