Robert Miller, Prominent New York Gallerist, 1939-2011


Robert Miller, a dealer active in the New York art world since the early 1960s, died in Miami on June 22 at the age of 72, after a prolonged illness.  Miller was born in Atlantic City, studied at Rutgers University and earned an MFA in 1963. He was a teaching assistant to Roy Lichtenstein, who encouraged the young painter to move to New York City, which he did, with his new wife (also an artist), in 1964.

After a few commercially unsuccessful inclusions in group shows at Martha Jackson Gallery, Miller began working as an assistant at André Emmerich Gallery, eventually becoming a director there. He left to open his own gallery in 1977. Initially located on Fifth Avenue, the gallery moved to 57th Street, and later Chelsea, where it has occupied a 26th Street space since 2000.

Over the years, Robert Miller Gallery has worked with a wide variety of artists and estates, among them Ai Weiwei, Gilbert & George, Diane Arbus, Alice Neel and Louise Bourgeois. Lee Krasner, Barthelemy Toguo and Patti Smith showed at the gallery in the past year. Miller was known for supporting women and gay artists throughout his career, and represented Robert Mapplethorpe during the photographer’s 1989 NEA-funding controversy.

Miller moved to Florida soon after he retired in 2001. Since then, his ex-wife (the two divorced in 2005), Betsy Miller, and son, Robert Peter Miller, have run the gallery. The current show, featuring new abstract paintings and works on paper by Robert Greene, is on view through July 30.

Miller is survived by three children and a grandson.

Image © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation.