Henry Miller Fine Art focuses exclusively on the male form – the only gallery of its kind in the UK, with works ranging from 17th Century drawings to 21st Century paintings and photographs – and everything in between. Whether you are already familiar with Henry Miller Fine Art or not – you might have visited his Spring Exhibition at the Coningsby Gallery last month – a rare chance to see more of his collection is coming up. On Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 June, Henry Miller is hosting an Open House at his home gallery in Walthamstow and we caught up with him ahead of this special weekend.
Hello Henry, you are about to open your house to the public to view your collection. How did that come about?
Although I do regularly exhibit at commercial galleries and art fairs, I understand they can sometimes feel a bit intimidating for some people. A few years ago, I bought a derelict home in Walthamstow and as I renovated it, I realised that it would make the perfect place to display my collection. Exhibiting in my home gives the buyer a sense of what the artwork will look like in a domestic setting. It is also a very friendly and informal way to view pictures. And most importantly, I can show more work. To give you an idea, at my last exhibition, I could only display about half of the collection.
Tell us about what you do.
I focus exclusively on the male form. The great thing about specialising in one particular subject is that I am not confined to a specific period or medium; for instance, my collection includes a beautiful Dutch portrait from 1630 and a delightful drawing from 1747 by Giovanni Battista Cipriani (one of the founders of the Royal Academy), as well as 20th Century male nudes by Michael Leonard (whose portrait of the Queen hangs in the National Portrait Gallery), early twentieth century erotic photographs by Guglielmo Pluschow, but also contemporary paintings by Ian Cook and sculptures by Hywel Pratley.
How did you decide to build such a unique collection?
I have always liked figurative pictures; the subject might have different clothes or a different hairstyle but when you look at an image of the human form you are, in essence, looking at yourself. Being gay, my focus tends to lean inevitably towards the male, rather than the female form. With regards to my current collection, I wanted to create something unique: there is no other gallery in the UK focusing solely on the male form and which spans the centuries in the way that my collection does.
Any particular highlights?
While I do love every piece in my collection, I must admit I have some favourite artists, not least Michael Leonard and Patrick Hennessy, who are, for me, two of the most talented artists of the Twentieth Century. For fans of photography, I have some stunning works by Edwin F Townsend, Carl Van Vechten, George Dureau and Arthur Tress as well as a Horst P, Horst and Herbert List. But it is for the viewers to decide what they like the best and I look forward to showing them around my house and talking to them about the collection.
Henry Miller Fine Art Open House is on Saturday 15 and Sunday 16. Closest Tube/Overground is Walthamstow Central. The Open House is about 7 minutes walk from the station. More details at henrymillerfineart.co.uk.