Nachume Miller - Aug. 06 - Sept. 04, 2020
David Benrimon Fine Art
41 East 57th Street 2nd Floor
New York, NY 1002, USA
David Benrimon Fine Art is pleased to present a selection of works by Nachume Miller (1949–1998), a German born Israeli artist who immigrated to New York City in 1973, where he made a name for himself in the American Modern Art scene. Miller immigrated to New York to study at the School of Visual Arts, where he would later become a professor of painting and drawing. He was quickly identified as a star on the rise and at the age of 29 was included in the Guggenheim Museum’s “Young American Artists,” Exxon National Exhibition. A decade later he was granted a solo show at the Museum of Modern Art, where his work is now part of the permanent collection. Though his career was cut short by his untimely death in 1998, Nachume exhibited at some of the most prominent galleries in New York and around the world.
As a child, Miller excelled in painting. He was inspired by his father, who spent most of his days carving wood sculptures of Cubist human forms. By the age of 16, Miller was painting elaborate surreal landscapes referencing religion, politics, and the history of modern art. These earlier works show similarities to Hieronymus Bosch, Salvador Dalí, and Francisco Goya. He was enlisted in the Israeli Army and fought in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. That same year, he received a scholarship from the Israeli-American Cultural Foundation. He married his girlfriend Ruth and moved to New York to study at the School of Visual Arts. In 1977, he joined the faculty to teach painting and drawing.
Over the next two decades, Nachume was prolific in the range of media, styles, and references he incorporated into his art. His paintings and three-dimensional works pay homage to artists throughout history, from the classical Greeks to Robert Rauschenberg. He prioritized craft over concept and was a disciplined painter, never neglecting workmanship in favor of a trend. His work is marked with curiosity, sincerity and intensity. Cara McCarty, an assistant curator in the department of architecture and design, organized the current show. It reveals Mr. Miller as someone who finds common ground with both Turner and Jackson Pollock - with the former's Romantic re-creations of storms at sea and with the latter's search for content in abstract gesture.
Miller’s parents were both Holocaust survivors. They were separated from each other during World War II; his father was a captain on the front lines of the Russian Army and his mother took refuge with a Christian family in Lithuania. Both eventually escaped the Nazis, re-united in Germany, and fled to Israel. Nachume was born during their voyage, in Frankfurt, Germany, on January 28, 1949. He grew up in the town of Holon, Israel. Towards the end of his life, Nachume battled cancer. He passed away at the age of 49, survived by his beloved wife and three sons. Despite what he endured, however, the paintings from these years never demonstrate despair or remorse. Instead, as in all of his work, they maintain a brave optimism that celebrates the vastness and mystery of life.