Space movement 1
Trees in quarry

Born Wellington, New Zealand 1893, arrived Australia 1919, died Sydney 1964


Godfrey Miller’s preliminary training in architecture underpinned the technical and mathematical approach to his painting practice. In the late 1920s he enrolled in the Slade School of Art, London and studied periodically until 1938. He travelled widely through Europe and the Middle East, but with the threat of another major war, Miller returned to Australia and focused on his art practice.

Miller’s landscape painting style was influenced by Paul Cézanne’s approach of fracturing and flattening space and simplifing forms, as well as mathematical theories regarding proportional harmony (the ‘Golden section’). His canvases were divided into grids onto which small squares of colour were applied, giving the finished paintings a kaleidoscopic appearance of light refracted through a prism.

Miller’s technique was painstakingly slow, and as with Trees in quarry, paintings could take several years to complete. Painted while Miller was living in Sydney, this work is probably based on drawings made of the area around Woronora and Kiama. The work has been shown in numerous exhibitions including Godfrey Miller, Macquarie Galleries, Sydney (1957); The Mertz Collection of Contemporary Australian Painting, National Gallery of South Australia (1966); and Godfrey Miller 1893–1964 at the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the National Gallery of Victoria (1996).

Miller’s work is represented in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, all state and most regional galleries, and the Tate Gallery, London.