Kenneth Hayes Miller
American, 1876-1954

Three Shoppers,
Etching, first state

Museum purchase

Miller taught Isabel Bishop at the Art Students League in New York City. Both were part of the 14th Street School of artists, who were robustly obsessed with the urban animation and ethnic diversity of the crowds near Union Square. Like Bishop, Miller wished to fuse the grace of European Renaissance tradition with the earthy truth of ordinary Americans. His women shoppers possess a touch of the monumental dignity of Masaccio in their quest for identity: I shop, therefore, I am. Despite the ironic humor, there is serious admiration here on the part of Miller. Christine de Pizan, perhaps the first feminist, praises the prudence of the woman "who seeks out and buys very attentive in governing her household...She is like a merchant ship which brings all kinds of goods...her arms are hardened in continual good works." These three shoppers are a fleet!

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