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Henry Miller lithograph crops up at estate sale

September 11, 2009 | 11:59 am


Onetime Big Sur resident Henry Miller is best known as an author. He wrote the controversially racy "Tropic of Cancer" -- published in 1934 in France, it finally came to America in 1961, where it was the subject of an obscenity trial -- and "The Air-Conditioned Nightmare," a portrait of America's commercialism circa 1945. But he also liked to sketch and paint, often producing brightly colored, whimsical works.

Some of his art is for sale on a website maintained by Miller's daughter, Valentine. She writes:

He painted mainly watercolors, turning out several thousand in his lifetime. He painted for pleasure, enjoying the process of creating. His paintings were shown in exhibitions in the U.S., Japan & Europe.

Many of his watercolors were printed as lithographs, usually in editions of 250-300 prints. Dad would have them stacked on the ping pong table taking time in the day to sign & number them. He was pleased that people liked his paintings, giving them to friends & admirers.

Original watercolors from the Miller family collection are listed on the site for as much as $30,000; signed lithographs are $8,000 to $15,000. Other lithographs, some signed, are available on EBay for a few hundred dollars. And this weekend, a signed Henry Miller lithograph will be among the items offered by Hughes Estate Sales at a sale in Northridge.

The estate belonged to Milt Rosen, who wrote episodes of "My Three Sons," "That Girl," "Bewitched," "The Brady Bunch" and even "The A Team." Like most estate sales, this one includes furniture, china and knick-knacks. The Henry Miller art is something different. And for the literarily inclined, there will be books for sale too.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: dalvenjah via Flickr