Turtle Ceremony

Peter Miller

oil on canvas, 25 x 30 inches


Peter Miller on Verso

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. Peter and her husband Earle considered New Mexico their spiritual home, and in 1935 they built a ranch in Española, about 25 miles north of Santa Fe. Being neighbors of the indigenous people of the Tewa Pueblo, their crafts and religious beliefs fascinated Peter and the reliance of Native Americans upon the land and the animals permeated her work for most of her career. 

Additional work by this artist

Other works in Modern

Other works in Abstract