Henry Valentine Miller



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Henry Miller as a painter

Throughout his life, Henry Miller felt a strong inclination towards painting, without ever having had any training in this field. The importance he attached to the visual arts is shown by the detailed mention of all his painting activities in the short biography he wrote himself. On his numerous travels, he repeatedly met painters: for example, in 1937 with the American Expressionist Abraham Rattner in New York, in 1939 with the Cubist Nicolas Ghika (1906-1994) in Greece, in 1941 with Fernand Léger, in 1945 with the Israeli painter Bezalel Schatz (1912-1978; son of Boris Schatz) and in 1961 with the Italian sculptor Marino Marini, who cast his head in bronze.

Apart from a few etchings on copper plates, his own artistic oeuvre consisted of several hundred watercolours; he was able to present these works at a number of exhibitions.

1927 in Greenwich Village, NYC

1943 at the American Contemporary Gallery Hollywood, CA

1944 at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and the Yale University Art Gallery

1946 Leon Shamroy bought more than 30 of his watercolours

1954 he had his first travelling exhibition in Japan

1957 at Gallery One, London and in Israel (Jerusalem and Tel Aviv). That year he was also elected a member of the National Institute of Arts and Sciences.

In 1963, Henry Miller was initiated into silk painting by nuns at Immaculate Heart College; as a result, he produced 115 watercolours between March and July of that year alone.

1967 in the Daniel Gervis Gallery, Paris; then in Uppsala, Sweden

1968 second travelling exhibition in Japan (Miller had married the Japanese Hiroko Tokuda, called ‘Hoki’, the year before).

These diary-like entries ended in 1971 with their inclusion in the more detailed autobiography My Life and Times by Henry Miller, which was published that same year by Playboy Press in New York.