Afternoon Tea

 
Artist
Creation date
Materials
oil on canvas
Dimensions
39-1/2 x 32 in. 52-5/8 x 45 x 2 in. (framed)
Credit line
Partial and Promised Gift of Jane and Andrew Paine
Accession number
1997.139
Collection
Currently On View

Women in a sunlit landscape framed by a large, vividly patterned Japanese parasol, exemplify Miller's expressionist technique.

Miller was one of the American Impressionists working in the French countryside known as the Giverny Group.

Mr. O.J. Wardwell (probably); C.L. Baldwin Esq.; sold through New York American Art Association "Private Collection of Important American Paintings formed by C.L. Baldwin" April 22, 1926; by descent in the family to owner in Connecticut; sold at Christies to the IMA and the Paines at Chirstie's December 4, 1997
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Inspired by Asian Motifs

"Richard E. Miller worked with the Giverny Group, a circle of American Impressionist painters who lived in the French countryside near the village of Giverny from 1898 to 1914. Part of their attraction to the area was the presence of Claude Monet, one of the founders of French Impressionism. The American artists favored images of women in vibrant, sun-filled landscapes, surrounded by flowers and foliage. An emphasis on pattern and bold contrasts exemplifies their decorative approach.

Miller's Giverny paintings often feature women in gardens or in rooms that open to a garden. A strong sense of design and vibrant palette were hallmarks of his style. Miller also was strongly influenced by the Japanese aesthetic-popular in France in the late 1800s and early 1900s-and his studio was filled with kimonos, parasols, fans, and ceramics with Asian motifs. Afternoon Tea, with its figures framed within a vividly patterned Japanese parasol, exemplifies the artist's Impressionist technique.

Louis Ritman and Frederick Carl Frieseke were other Giverny Group artists whose works are in the IMA's collection. World War I drove many of the artists away from Giverny; Miller returned to the United States in 1914."

Lee, Ellen Wardwell, Anne Robinson, and Alexandra Bonfante-Warren. Indianapolis Museum of Art: Highlights of the Collection. Indianapolis: Indianapolis Museum of Art, 2005, p. 144.

Richard Miller and the Giverny Group

Richard Miller worked with a circle of American Impressionist painters, called the Giverny Group, who lived in the French countryside from 1898 to 1914. The presence of French Impressionist Claude Monet drew these artists to the area. American Impressionists favored images of women in vibrant sun-filled landscapes, surrounded by flowers and foliage. An emphasis on pattern and bold contrasts exemplifies their decorative approach. Miller’s Giverny paintings often feature women in gardens or in rooms that open to a garden. A strong sense of design and a vibrant palette were hallmarks of his style. Miller was strongly influenced by the Japanese aesthetic, popular in France in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and his studio was filled with kimonos, parasols, fans, and ceramics with Asian motifs.

Afternoon Tea, with its figures framed by a patterned Japanese parasol, exemplifies the artist’s impressionist technique. In this canvas, Miller uses brilliant color and slashing brush strokes, which are particularly evident in the parasol. The parasol becomes the focal point of the composition and serves as its unifying element. It also gives the artist the opportunity to display his signature brand of Impressionism by juxtaposing textures, patterns, and colors to create a vibrant, yet cohesive composition. Afternoon Tea is one of Miller’s most famous works.

Kane, Marie Louise. A Bright Oasis: the Paintings of Richard E. Miller. New York: Jordan-Volpe Gallery, 1997.

Indianapolis Museum of Art: Highlights of the Collection (2005)

Richard E. Miller worked with the Giverny Group, a circle of American Impressionist painters who lived in the French countryside near the village of Giverny from 1898 to 1914. Part of their attraction to the area was the presence of Claude Monet, one of the founders of French Impressionism. The American artists favored images of women in vibrant, sun-filled landscapes, surrounded by flowers and foliage. An emphasis on pattern and bold contrasts exemplifies their decorative approach.

Miller's Giverny paintings often feature women in gardens or in rooms that open to a garden. A strong sense of design and vibrant palette were hallmarks of his style. Miller also was strongly influenced by the Japanese aesthetic-popular in France in the late 1800s and early 1900s-and his studio was filled with kimonos, parasols, fans, and ceramics with Asian motifs. Afternoon Tea, with its figures framed within a vividly patterned Japanese parasol, exemplifies the artist's Impressionist technique.

Louis Ritman and Frederick Carl Frieseke were other Giverny Group artists whose works are in the IMA's collection. World War I drove many of the artists away from Giverny; Miller returned to the United States in 1914.

Atmosphere and color are never permanent; paint won't remain the same color forever. But design will stay.
-Richard E. Miller, 1932