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Lillian B. Miller

(b New York, Dec 11, 1848; d New York, Jan 18, 1931).

American businessman, collector, patron and dealer. He began collecting art in 1869 with paintings by American Hudson River school artists and conventional European works, Chinese porcelain, antique pottery and 17th- and 18th-century English furniture. By 1883 his taste had focused entirely on American works, especially on paintings by George Inness and Winslow Homer. By dealing in such works and by giving frequent exhibitions, Clarke enhanced the popularity of these artists, while also realizing large profits for himself. His founding of Art House, New York, in 1890 confirms the profit motive behind his collecting practices. The most notable sale of his paintings took place in 1899, when he sold at auction 373 contemporary American works at a profit of between 60 and 70%. Four landscapes by Inness—Grey, Lowery Day (c. 1876–7; untraced), Delaware Valley (1865; New York, Met.), Clouded Sun (1891; Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mus. A.) and Wood Gatherers: Autumn Afternoon...

Article

Nancy E. Green

(b Doylestown, PA, June 24, 1856; d Doylestown, March 9, 1930).

American archaeologist, ethnologist and decorative tile designer and manufacturer. Mercer grew up in a privileged Philadelphia family, and at a young age he began his lifelong love of travel, which would take him eventually throughout Europe, the Middle East and Mexico. These travels would later influence his tile designs for the Moravian Pottery and Tile Works. From 1875 to 1879 he attended Harvard University, studying with George Herbert Palmer, Henry Cabot Lodge and Charles Eliot Norton, the latter having a defining influence on the development of his aesthetic sense. From 1880 to 1881 he read law, first with his uncle Peter McCall and then with the firm of Fraley and Hollingsworth, both in Philadelphia, though he never received his law degree. Thereafter, he returned to Europe, becoming interested in archaeology and beginning his lifelong passion for collecting the minutiae and mundane objects of everyday life, becoming one of the first scholars to examine history through a material culture lens....