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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Lee Miller

Born: Elizabeth Miller 
Other: Lady Penrose 
Other: Lee Penrose 
Dates:  1907, 23 April - 1977, 21 July
Born:  US, NY, Poughkeepsie
Active:  US / UK / France / Egypt
American model, writer and photographer. She was deeply involved in the surrealist movement and was a lover of Man Ray and a friend of Picasso. She traveled widely in the Middle East and became a war correspondent in the Second World War.
A plaque commemorating her first studio at Rue Victor Considérant, Montparnasse, Paris was unveiled on 8 March 2022.

Preparing biographies

Biography provided by Focal Press 
Born ("Elizabeth") in Poughkeepsie, New York, Miller drew much inspiration from her father, an avid photographer and inventor. After modeling for Steichen and Horst, she moved to Paris and became a model and assistant (and lover) to Man Ray (1929–1932) where she learned the technical craft and became an accomplished photographer of the avant-garde circle. She opened her own New York studio in 1932 and was successful in advertising, fashion, and portraits, eventually working solely for Vogue. Married an Egyptian, Aziz Bey, and moved to Cairo (1934), but that relationship dissolved and she moved to England and married (1947) the author and prominent art collector, Roland Penrose. During WWII she served as a U.S. Army war correspondent. After some documentary work for Vogue about the war’s effects on England, she boldly got herself transported just behind the Allied lines near the Normandy beaches. Miller was one of the first to enter and photograph the German concentration camps of Buchenwald and Dachau. Later she lived in Hitler’s Munich apartment and was photographed bathing in Hitler’s bathtub (photo by partner, D. Scherman). After 1945 her life was enriched by the comings and goings of the art elite at the Penrose estate in East Sussex. Miller accumulated over 1000 negatives of Picasso over 20 years. Her career, documented in several biographies, was fast paced and certainly, through a combination of myth and truth, one of the most fascinating in 20th century photography. 
(Author: Ken White - Rochester Institute of Technology) 
Michael Peres (Editor-in-Chief), 2007, Focal Encyclopedia of Photography, 4th edition, (Focal Press) [ISBN-10: 0240807405, ISBN-13: 978-0240807409] 
(Used with permission) 

Further research

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Arnold Genthe
Portrait of Lee Miller, New York 
Family history 
If you are related to this photographer and interested in tracking down your extended family we can place a note here for you to help. It is free and you would be amazed who gets in touch.

Visual indexes

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Visual indexes for this photographer are available for subscribers.There is so much more to explore when you subscribe. 

Supplemental information


Victoria and Albert Museum
Tate Gallery London
Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh
Art Institute of Chicago
Museum of Modern Art New York
Metropolitan Museum New York
Philadelphia Museum of Art
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
New Orleans Museum of Art
Portraits of Lee Miller
Sacha Masour took still photographs of Lee Miller in the Jean Cocteau film The Blood of a Poet (1931). 

Internet biographies

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Wikipedia has a biography of this photographer. Go to website
Getty Research, Los Angeles, USA has an ULAN (Union List of Artists Names Online) entry for this photographer. This is useful for checking names and they frequently provide a brief biography. Go to website
Grove Art Online ( has a biography of this artist. 
[NOTE: This is a subscription service and you will need to pay an annual fee to access the content.]
 Go to website

Internet resources

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Lee Miller Archive: 20th-Century Photography and Surrealism. 
Lee Miller Archive: Photo Gallery ... 

Printed biographies

The following books are useful starting points to obtain brief biographies but they are not substitutes for the monographs on individual photographers.

• Evans, Martin Marix (Executive ed.) 1995 Contemporary Photographers [Third Edition] (St. James Press - An International Thomson Publishing Company) [Expensive reference work but highly informative.] 
• Lenman, Robin (ed.) 2005 The Oxford Companion to the Photograph (Oxford: Oxford University Press)  [Includes a short biography on Lee Miller.] 
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