Delineating the ordinary pedestrian and depicting robust female shoppers in groups, pairs or alone, the American painter, Kenneth Hayes Miller is best known for his fascination with human figure as a vehicle for plastic interpretation.
An influential teacher of artistic theory and technical methods, Miller was born on March 11, 1876, in Oneida, New York. In the 1890s he studied art at the New York School of Art with William M. Chase and later at the Art Students League with several prominent, traditional, mural painters, such as Kenyon Cox and H. Siddons Mowbray.
In 1899, Miller became an instructor at the New York School of Art and traveled to Europe for the first time. After the closing of the New York School of Art in 1911, Miller began teaching at the Art Students League, where he remained until 1951. His numerous students there included Isabel Bishop, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, and Reginald Marsh.
Miller's early works were romantic depictions of nudes in dreamlike landscapes, reminiscent of the work of his close friend Albert Pinkham Ryder, and often alluding to Renaissance compositions. After world war l, Miller turned to realism. He concentrated on contemporary themes such as consumer culture, I.e. lively scenes of women shopping in New York. His painting style became less atmospheric as he brightened his palette and delineated objects more clearly. Throughout his career Miller was also interested in etching and sometimes repeated his painted images in prints.
Miller exhibited four works in the 1913 Armory Show and had his first person exhibition in 1916 at the Macbeth Gallery, New York. In 1929, he was included in the Museum of Modern Art's first exhibition of works by American artists, “Paintings by Nineteen Living Americans.” Miller became an associate of the National Academy of Design in 1942 and two years later became an Academician and a member of National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1947.
Instrumental in reviving old-master techniques such as casein and tempera painting, Kenneth Hayes Miller died in New York on January 1, 1952.