Ferdinand Von Miller
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Born at Fürstenfeldbruck, 1813; died at Munich, 1887. He laboured for the development of the bronze founders' craft and the uplifting of the artistic profession, far beyond the borders of Bavaria. After a sojourn at the academy and a preliminary engagement at the royal brass foundry, he went to Paris in 1833, where he learnt from Soyer and Blus the varied technique necessary to him in the manipulation of bronze. He also visited England and the Netherlands, and after his return worked under his teacher and uncle Stiglmayr, whom the Crown Prince Ludwig had induced to devote himself to bronze foundry work and to the establishment of the Munich foundry as a state institution. Miller soon took his uncle's place, and upon the death of the latter was appointed inspector of the workshop. He soon won for it a world-wide reputation, and for himself a fortune and position of influence. He was a gifted artist, a quiet worker, skilful in negotiation and entirely a self-made man. The casting of the Bavaria, one of the world's greatest representations in bronze (1844-55), especially brought him great fame. Commissions came to him from far and near. Thus he cast not merely the statues of Herder, Goethe, and Schiller for Weimar, but also the figures of Duke Eberhard in Stuttgart, of Berzelius in Stockholm and two Washington monuments by Mills and Crawford in Boston and Richmond. The gate of the capital in Washington is also by him. The Munich exhibition of art and the art crafts in the year 1876, which resulted so successfully for the art industries in Germany, was largely Miller's work. Two years before he had been elected to the directorate of the society of art industries. He understood not only how to interest the influential classes in the productions of rising arts and crafts, but also to win over artists to a general exhibition of German art in alliance with the art handicrafts. When he had brought architects, sculptors and painters into harmony with the lesser arts he found it possible to bring about an exhibition on an entirely new plan. Drawing rooms, cabinets, boudoirs, sitting rooms and chapels were arranged so as to form in their grouping an harmonious whole by having art and trade appliances put into the place for which they were intended. Where this was not possible, a partition or a wall would be placed with picturesque effect in some adjoining room. As a result art became, especially in Munich, the mistress of industry. Miller forthwith established a center of exhibition and sale for the society, and procured himself a home especially for the social intercourse of artists and art craftsmen. The result was an unexpected rise of the art industries. Ferdinand Miller junior followed in his father's footsteps, and is known in America by the figures on the Sinton fountain in Cincinnati (at the unveiling of which he was much honoured ), as well as by the statues of Shakespeare and von Humboldt in St. Louis, and finally by the war memorial at Charleston.
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