J. Howard Miller

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J. Howard Miller
We Can Do It! (Rosie the Riveter) military poster by J. Howard Miller

We Can Do It! (Rosie the Riveter)

Bio
Born: NA
Location: NA
Died: NA
Age: 86
Movements Realism
Americana
Nationality American
Expertise Graphic Arts

Howard Miller grew up during World War II, and was inspired by the works of Norman Rockwell. He used his talents and passion to create posters and other artwork depicting the lives of the women behind the war effort.

Personal life

Born in 1918, Miller was a young man when the United States entered World War II after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The success of the war effort depended on the women who took over the factory jobs that the men left behind, and Miller became famous for his portrayals of the work these women did. Miller worked for Westinghouse War Production as a coordinating committee artist, and the company asked him to create a series of posters that would aid in the war effort. Miller continued with the company until the end of the war before fading from the public eye.

Career

Miller was inspired by the work of Americana and Realist artist Norman Rockwell. Rockwell created a painting for the Saturday Evening Post that showed a woman working in a factory. As an afterthought, he added the name Rosie to the woman’s lunchbox. While working for Westinghouse, Miller created a similar piece titled We Can Do It!, which showed a woman wearing the same clothing that Rockwell’s figure wore. The woman became known as Rosie the Riveter. The piece has since appears on shirts, coffee mugs, and thousands of other collectibles. Miller continued working on pieces for Westinghouse until the war ended. It’s a Tradition with Us, Mister! depicted the connection women had with the then-current war and past war efforts, while Any Questions About Your Work? encouraged women working in the factories to ask for help while on the job. Many of Miller’s pieces were mass produced and used in factories and towns across the country. Westinghouse hoped that his pieces would stop women from striking or demanding higher pay at work. One of his posters that hung in factories was Make Today a Safe Day, which showed a woman wishing her husband well on his way off to work. After World War II ended, Miller disappeared from the public eye, living a quiet life away from art until his death.

Fun Facts

  • Miller created We Can Do It! After seeing a series of photographs taken in a factory.
  • At least three women claim that they were the original Rosie seen in his painting.
  • Miller’s work largely disappeared during the 1960s and 1970s, but as the collecting field grew in the 1980s, his remaining pieces increased in value.

Related Artists

References

Some Examples of J. Howard Miller’s Artwork

Let's Be Our Own Inspectors military poster by J. Howard Miller

Let’s Be Our Own Inspectors

It's A Tradition With Us Mister! military poster by J. Howard Miller

It’s A Tradition With Us Mister!