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Biography of Lee Miller

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  • Biography

    Lee Miller was born in 1907 in Poughkeepsie, New York USA and first entered the world of photography in New York as a model to the great photographers of the day such as Edward Steichen, Hoyningen-Huene and Arnold Genthe.

     
    In 1929 she went to Paris and worked with the well known Surrealist artist and photographer Man Ray, and succeeded in establishing her own studio. She became known as a portraitist and fashion photographer, but her most enduring body of work is that of her Surrealist images. She returned to New York in 1932, and again set up her own studio which ran for 2 years and was highly successful. It closed when she married a wealthy Egyptian businessman Aziz Eloui Bey and went to live with him in Cairo, Egypt. She became fascinated by long range desert travel and photographed desert villages and ruins. During a visit to Paris in 1937 she met Roland Penrose, the Surrealist artist who was to become her second husband, and travelled with him to Greece and Romania. In 1939 she left Egypt for London shortly before World War II broke out. She moved in with Roland Penrose and defying orders from the US Embassy to return to America she took a job as a freelance photographer on Vogue.

     
    In 1944 she became a correspondent accredited to the US Army, and teamed up with Time Life photographer David E. Scherman. She followed the US troops overseas on ‘D’ Day + 20. She was probably the only woman combat photo-journalist to cover the war in Europe and among her many exploits she witnessed the siege of St Malo, the Liberation of Paris, the fighting in Luxembourg and Alsace, the Russian/American link up at Torgau, the liberation of Buchenwald and Dachau. She billeted in both Hitler and Eva Braun’s houses in Munich, and photographed Hitler’s house Wachenfeld at Berchtesgaden in flames on the eve of Germany’s surrender. Penetrating deep into Eastern Europe, she covered harrowing scenes of children dying in Vienna, peasant life in post war Hungary and finally the execution of Prime Minister Lazlo Bardossy.

     
    After the war she continued to work for Vogue for a further 2 years, covering fashion and celebrities. In 1947 she married Roland Penrose and contributed to his biographies of Picasso, Miro, Man Ray and Tapies. Some of her portraits of famous artists like Picasso are the most powerful portraits of the individuals ever produced, but it is mainly for the witty Surrealist images which permeate all her work that she is best remembered.

     
    Lee Miller died at Farley Farm House in 1977.

  • Solo Shows

    Picasso at Play Farley’s Barn Gallery 29 May to 26 July 2012
    Through the Eyes of Lee Miller Lucy Bell Fine Art Photography, St Leonards on Sea, TN38 0EL, UK
    20 March – 21 April 2012
    Lee Miller’s Surrealist Eye Kunstmuseet Brundlund Slot, 6200 Aabenraa 17 Jan 2013 – 12 May 2013
    Øregaard Museum, Denmark 19 Jan 2012 – 20 June 2012

    Lee Miller & Picasso Dylan Thomas Festival, Wales 27 October 2011 – 19 Jan 2012
    Man Ray and Lee Miller: Fine Arts Museum San Francisco July 14 – 7 Oct 2012
    Partners in Surrealism Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass. USA. June 11 – Dec 4 2011

    The Legendary Lee Miller Centro Cultural Novacaixagalicia, Vigo, Spain – 22 Sept – 20 Nov 2011
    Fundación Caixa Galicia, A Coruña Spain – 21 June – 11 Sept 2011

    Lee Miller in Luxembourg Centre National de l’Audiovisuel. 5 March 2011 – 12 June 2011
    Lee Millers War Visual Arts Centre, Frances Bardsley School, Chelmsford
    4 Nov – 17 Dec 2009

    The Legendary Lee Miller Jakopic Gallery, Ljubljana, Slovenia 22nd Nov 2010 to 9th of Jan 2011
    Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Rijeka, Croatia
    1 July 2010 – 16 August 2010

    ‘Scatti de Guerra’ – Scuderie del Quirinale, Rome 4 Jul – 23 Aug 2009
    Lee Miller e Tony Vaccaro dallo sbarco
    in Normandia alla Liberazione

    Lee Miller Surrealist Eye Stenersenmusset/Stenersten Museum, Oslo, Norway 19 Jun 2010 – 5 Sept 2010
    Millesgården, Herserudsvägen 32, Sweden 14 Nov 2009 – 14 Feb 2010
    Mjellby Konst Museum, Halmstadt, Sweden 14 Jun – 30 Aug 2009

    The Legendary Lee Miller Moscow Fotofest, Moscow Museum 18 Mar – 29 Apr 2009

    Lee Miller & Friends Pallant House Gallery, West Sussex 15 Jan – 29 Mar 2009

    Lee Miller Y Picasso: TEA Tenerife 6 Feb – 24 May 2009
    Evocación Y Recuerdo Fundacion Pablo Ruiz Picasso, Malaga 2 Oct 2008 – 15 Feb 2009

    Picasso e a arte Portuguesa no séc – Sala Expo Arade, Portimao, Portugal – 21 Aug – 19 Oct 2008
    Lee Miller & Picasso

    Lee Miller Mini Portraits Mascalls Gallery, Kent 3 Nov – 13 Dec 2008
    Lee Miller Mini Portraits The Oriental Gallery, Durham University 14 Jun – 14 Jul 2008
    Lee Millers War Malmo Museer, Sweden 1 Jun – 7 Sept 2008
    Lee Miller at Farley Farm Farley Yard Trust, Farley Yard Barn, Sussex 3 May – 31 July 2008
    Lee Miller Manuel Barbie Gallery, Barcelona Feb – May 2008

    The Art of Lee Miller: Jeu de Paume, Paris 14 Oct 2008 – 12 Jan 2009
    SF MOMA, San Francisco 1 Jul – 21 Sept 2008
    Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia 24 Jan – 27 Apr 2008
    V & A Museum, London 14 Sept 2007 – 6 Jan 2008

    Picasso en Privat Museo Picasso. Barcelona 1 Jun – 16 Sept 07
    Lee Millers War Monash Gallery of Art, Australia 6 Jul – 2 Sept 2007
    Auckland War Museum, New Zealand 23 Mar- 17 Jun 2007

    Lee Miller: Un Regard Libre Musee de Grenoble, France 20 Oct – 12 Nov 2006
    The Legendary Lee Miller Fundacion BBK, Bilbao, Spain 21 Aug – 30 Sept 2006
    Lee Miller Mini Portraits Maison de la Photographie, Toulon 30 Sept 2005 – 14 Jan 2006

    Lee Miller Solo Exhibitions: cont…
    Lee Miller Portraits Kunstmuseum, Wolfsburg 9 Sept 2006 – 21 Jan 2007
    National Portrait Gallery, London 3 Feb – 30 May 2005

    Lee Millers War The Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea 27 Oct – 30 Nov 2005
    Lee Miller….A Retrospective Gammel Holtegaard Museum, Denmark 22 Jan – 6 Mar 2005
    The Surrealists in Cornwall Falmouth Art Gallery – 19 Jun – 12 Sept 2004
    Lee Miller, Portraits from a Life Wingfield Arts 21 June – 28th Sept 2003
    Lee Miller ‘Muse’ West Dean College, West Sussex Apr – May 2003
    Real/Surreal The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester 23 Jan – 27 Apr 2003

    Surrealist Muse: Lee Miller, Roland Penrose and Man Ray
    J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, USA 25 Feb – 15 June 2003

    Lee Miller Fashion Photography Sussex Downs College 4 Mar – 15 Mar 2002
    The Surrealist and the Photographer Bermuda National Art Gallery 16 May – 28 September 2003
    Taidemuseo Tennispalatsi, Helsinki 26 Feb – 21 Apr 2002
    The Irish Gallery of Photography, Dublin 3 Dec 2001 – 31 Jan 2002
    Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh 19 May – 9 Sept 2001

    A Life Less Ordinary The Photographers Gallery, London 30 Dec 2000 – 27 Jan 2001

    Lee Miller & The Avant Garde West Dean College, West Sussex 26 – 28th May 2000

    The Legendary Lee Miller
    Canada Tour University of Toronto Art Centre, Toronto, Canada 8 Apr – 30 June 2000
    Presentation House Gallery, Vancouver, Canada 8 Jan – 20 Feb 2000

    Lee Miller’s War The Photo Fair, Swedish Exhibition Centre, Gotenburg 14 Oct – 17 Oct 1999
    The Lee Miller Exhibition The Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea 23 Jul – 18 Aug 1999
    The Legendary Lee Miller Ivan Dougherty Gallery, College of Fine Arts, University of NSW
    Australia Tour 4 Mar – 17 Apr 1999
    The Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne 21 July – 5 Sept 1999
    The Legendary Lee Miller Aotea Centre Auckland 15 Jan – 20 Feb 1999
    New Zealand Tour Waikato Museum of Art & History Hamilton 24 Oct – 6 Dec 1998
    City Gallery Wellington 1 Aug – 4 Oct 1998
    Govett-Brewster Art Gallery – 23 May – 5 July 1998
    Robert McDougall Art Gallery Christchurch – 25 Feb – 26 Apr 1998

    Lee Miller’s War
    Photographs 1944-1945 Pelham House, Lewes 25 Apr – 4 May 1998

    Lee Miller’s War Tour of UK & Europe

    Europe Tour Centre d’Histoire de la Résistance, Lyon 23 Apr 1997 – 27 July 1997
    Stadtmuseum Gera, Fera 3 Mar 1997 – 7 Apr 1997
    Kulturamt der Stadt Freiburg i.Br., Freiburg i.Br., 10 Jan 1997 – 23 Feb 1997
    Kulturamt des Landkreises Eichsfeld, Heiligenstadt 11 Oct 1996 –10 Nov 1996
    Stadtmuseum Waldraiburg, Walkdraiburg 9 May 1996 – 16 June 1996
    Kunsthalle Dominikanerkirche, Osnabrück 3 Mar 1996 – 7 Apr 1996
    Frauenmuseum Bonn, Bonn 9 Dec 1995 – 28 Jan 1996
    Kulturzentrum Zehntscheuer E.V, Rottenburg aN 19 Sept 1995 to 22 Oct 1995
    Volkshochschule Leer, Leer 13 Aug 1995 – 3 Sept 1995
    Städtische Galerie Erlangen, Erlangen 8 Jul 1995 – 6 Aug 1995
    Centre National de l’Audiovisuel, Dudelange 9 June 1995 – 21.June 1995

    Lee Miller Solo Exhibitions: cont…

    UK Tour Kelvin Grove, Glasgow Dec – Jan 1994
    Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield Oct – Nov 1993
    University of East Anglia, Norwich 25 Apr – 11 July 1993
    Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts
    Sunderland 15 Feb – 21 Mar 1993
    Gardner Centre, Brighton 11 Jan – 6 Feb 1993
    Institute of Contemporary Arts, London 28 July 1992 – 30 Aug 1992

    Lee Miller Photographer
    Extensive European Tour Brandenburgeische Kunstsammlungen, Cottbus 29 Oct – 4 Dec 1994
    Kunstverein Coburg e.V., Coburg 18 Sept – 16 Oct 1994
    Galerie am Fischmarkt, Erfurt 5 Jul – 7 Aug 1994
    Württembergischer Kustverein, Stuttgart 12 May – 19 June 1994
    L’Espace Photographique de Paris, Paris 29 Mar – 1 May 1994
    Historisches Museum der Pflatz, Speyer 16 Jan – 13 Mar 1994
    Fotografie Forum, Frankifurt 20 Nov 1993 – 6 Jan 1994
    Museo di Storia della Fotografia, Florence 24 Sept – 31 Oct 1993
    America Haus, Berlin 1 Aug – 9 Sept 1993
    Fotomuseum Stadtmuseum, Munich 16 June – 31 July 1993
    Museum für Kunst und Gerwerbe, Hamburg 2 Apr – 23 May 1993
    Helsinki, Finland 19 Feb – 21 Mar 1993
    Lathi, Finland Jan – Feb 1993
    Stedelijk, Amsterdam 7 Nov – 13 Dec 1992
    Museum Ludwig, Cologne 15 Sept – 1 Nov 1992

    Lee Miller Photographer: Fundacio Joan Miro, Barcelona, Spain April – June 1991
    Yokohama Museum of Art, Japan Jan – Feb 1991

    Lee Miller Photographer: Santa Monica Museum of Art, USA Aug – Sep 1990
    US Tour The Art Institute of Chicago, USA June – Aug 1990
    International Centre of Photography Midtown, USA April – June 1990
    San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, USA Feb – April 1990
    Minneapolis Institute of Art, USA Nov 1989 – Jan 1990
    New Orleans Museum of Art, USA July – Aug 1989
    The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington DC, USA Feb – April 1989

    Lee Miller in Eastern Europe Staley-Wise Gallery, New York 20 Apr – 19 May 1990
    Lee Miller Photographer Zelda Cheatle Gallery, London 9 May – 2 Jun 1989
    Picasso by Lee Miller Auckland City Art Gallery, New Zealand 22 Sept – 12 Nov 1989
    Lee Miller Photographers’ Gallery, London Jan – Feb 1986

    The Lives of Lee Miller Staley-Wise Gallery, New York, USA Nov 1985 – Feb 1986
    Lee Miller in Sussex The Arts Centre, Darlington 6 Oct – 10 Nov 1986
    Leeds City Gallery, Leeds Aug – Sept 1986
    Chesil Gallery, Chiswell, Dorset 1 Jul – 31 Jul 1986
    Ramsgate Library, Ramsgate, Kent 20 Nov – 17 Dec 1985
    Worthing Museum & Art Gallery, Worthing 20 Jul – 17 Aug 1985
    South Hill Park, Bracknell 13 Apr – 26 May 1985
    Royal Museum and Art Gallery, Canterbury Feb – March 1985
    Southampton Municipal Gallery, Southampton 12 Jan – 17 Feb 1985
    Museum of Modern Art, Oxford 7 Oct – 2 Dec 1984
    Hastings Photo Gallery, St Leonards on Sea, Sussex 30 June – 28 July 1984
    Gardner Centre, Sussex, England May 1984

    Picasso’s Gaze Photographers’ Gallery, London May 1984
    Lee Miller Mayor Gallery, London -Feb 1978
    Julien Levy Gallery New York, USA 1933