Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Historic statues of Cincinnati

The above article was the cover story for the Sunday travel section of the Chicago Tribune of August 6 -- entitled "Cincinnati With Friends" -- and it proudly featured an "historic statue" made by Richard J. Miller -- representing John A. Roebling, the builder of the nearby suspension bridge over the Ohio River.

This was, regrettfully, the only public commission my dear father received in his 50 year career as a sculptor -- possibly due to a personality and business sense that's just about as miserable as my own -- and even then, he only got the job because the chosen artist had dropped out.

But still -- here it is -- and it seems to be having a career of its own as a public landmark for newspaper articles and postcards. (it doesn't hurt to have a riverboat permanently parked to the rear)

Here's a maquette for the statue -- and I think Old RJ could have had quite a career in the Soviet Union making heroic figures of Lenin -- while the finished piece reminds me more of a baroque saint -- displaying the tools of his martyrdom -- but then, what's heroic about a civil engineer ?

Now -- it's an "historic statue" -- creating a sense of tradition and place -- exactly what public statuary is supposed to do -- and though Cincinnati turned its back on him for most of his career -- I think he's left it a nice legacy.


Anonymous Amanda J. Sisk said...

The source of your sculpture germ revealed, perhaps? Did he have the opportunity to know of your creativity?

August 10, 2006  
Blogger chris miller said...

The "old carver from the faraway hills" is still carving

August 11, 2006  
Anonymous Mike McC said...

I have been a fan of RJ Miller's sculpture since first viewing it a few years ago.The above sculpture displays what I believe to be a very distinct characteristic of his work: seminal power arriving at the point of completion without being obliviated during the inevitable tendency towards refinement.Indeed,and as is displayed in his 'Canticle' piece, the outer countours on the figures seem to be defined not by presumption of endpoint arrival,instead more akin to the last waves of water rolling up on a beach,that is to say, the figurative anatomical distortions,in service of an idea, are a natural emanation from a central matrix of emotional and artistic impetus,not the forced and contrived nod to a codified convention that characterized so much figurative anatomical distortions in the 20th century,including,in my opinion, so many of Henry Moore's works.That an artist such as RJ Miller--who otherwise would have remained anonymous to a person such as myself--is now influencing and inspiring a fellow carver,provides a testimony to the charms of the internet,and to those who take the time to provide examples of these artists works.

August 18, 2006  
Blogger Angela said...

hello, it's Angela, Pat Brutchin's daughter...I have to say that I dearly miss your father and that I hope you'll post more pictures of his pieces in the future. He may have been difficult, but there was only one Dick...I have a few pictures I would like to send to you of him that we took at the house right before he passed.

October 28, 2008  
Blogger chris miller said...

Hi Angela -- glad you found my worthless blog! Yes -- please send me the pictures you took.

Here's my ongoing web collection of RJ sculpture -- there's some recent pieces that are waiting for my Mom to send them -- and then it should be complete (except for all the paintings and graphics !)

October 28, 2008  
Blogger Angela said...

it would be a tad more effective if i had your email address Chris

March 13, 2009  
Blogger chris miller said...

My email address is:

March 13, 2009  

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