Painting L.I. as it was

Charles Henry Miller’s works coming to Phillips House Museum in RVC


On Sept. 21, the Phillips House Museum will unveil an exhibit of the art of Charles Henry Miller, a late 19th and early 20th Century painter notable for his landscapes of Long Island.

Paintings selected from the private collection of Miller’s great-granddaughter, Ruth Ann Bramson, will be on display at the museum until Nov. 10, and, according to Phillips House historians, will be the first public exhibit of his works since 1921 and their first ever exhibition in Nassau County. Astoria Bank of Rockville Centre will co-sponsor the event.

“We’re very excited about it because it really is a history of Long Island back in the late 1800s and early 1900s,” said Tom Hodge, the vice-president of the museum. “We happen to [already] have two of his etchings in the museum.”

Miller (1842-1922), who was acclaimed by the poet Bayard Taylor as “the artistic discoverer of the little continent of Long Island,” graduated from the New York Homeopathical Medical College in 1864 — according to 19th Century art critic Walter Montgomery, he received his diploma from the hand of poet William Cullen Bryant. After a short period of service as ship’s surgeon aboard the packet ship Harvest Queen, Miller spent some years abroad, sketching and painting some, and enrolled in the Bavarian Royal Academy at Munich in 1867.

After the death of his father — an architect and builder of considerable means — in 1874, Miller received a large inheritance that included an estate in Queenslawn, and worked as an independent artist for the remainder of his life. He was esteemed during his own time, serving as president of the New York Art Club in 1879 and of the American Committee at the Munich International Exposition in 1883, and receiving a gold medal at the World’s Exposition in New Orleans in 1885. He founded the Queens Borough Allied Arts and Crafts Society in 1910.

“He never sold a painting, and that’s why people have never heard of him,” said Hodge. “But he was very active in the art world. And he started a great many art clubs in New York City.”

The reception for the exhibit will take place on Sept. 21 at 1 p.m. at the Phillips House Museum at 28 Hempstead Ave. Bramson and Geoffrey K. Fleming, who co-authored an award-winning biography and collection of the artist’s work in 2012, will sign books and answer questions at the event, and refreshments will be served. The exhibit is free of charge. More information can be found on the Phillips House website,