A tribute to His Majesty King Mihai I of Romania08.12.2017 - 08.01.2018Photo byLee Miller / Lee Miller Archives / leemiller.co.uk
The last piece of dignity and nobility within the Romanian people vanishes along with the death of King Michael I.
Along with King Michael’s I disappearance an era dies. The era which has built and unified the modern Romania with a silent patriotism, full of infinite love and struggle. This was the patriotism King Michael I carried throughout all his exile period for his country and for his people, hoping that his “home” will never cease to love him. From now on, King Michael I will rule over Romania and over his people for eternity.
All the boundaries are gone and Romania takes its King back forever.
The American woman Surrealist photographer Lee Miller (1907 – 1977)
Lee Miller was a model in the 1920s and the first female photographer for Vogue.
Her photographs record a unique journey through rural Romania during 1938 and 1946, at a time of significant social and political change, when the urban and the rural started to collide.
Along with Roland Penrose, her husband, Victor and Hari Brauner she travelled extensively across Romania, documenting folk dances and rituals, musicians and the peasant costumes. The resulting collection of around 500 photographs by Lee Miller gives us a unique image of the rural life in Romania in that period.
Lee Miller returned to Romania alone at the beginning of 1946. By this time she had become a war correspondent and a combat photographer, documenting the advance of the US Army across Europe and she made unique photos to His Majesty King Mihai I of Romania and Her Majesty Queen Mother Elena in Peles Castle, Sinaia.
“The formal, over-retouched portraits of a
severe lady choked in beads I’d seen of Her
Majesty in all of the cafés and ministerial
offices, flanked by starry-eyed pictures of Mihai
and the age of 15, were poor preparation for
meeting a graceful, beautiful woman with a
sense of humour and a great deal of charm. She
was dressed green and even I recognised that
the ostrich egg pearl earrings were real in spite
of the fact that they, like her manners, were
worn in the simplest possible way. King Mihai is
a very large young man with a boyish, fresh
face. / Lee Miller. British and American Vogue Magazine 1946
In recent years Lee Miller’s life and work have been acclaimed by books, television documentaries and exhibitions in major venues worldwide including The Corcoran, Washington, National Portrait Gallery, London and The Victoria and Albert Museum London. The show The Art of Lee Miller, curated by Mark Haworth-Booth toured to Philadelphia, San Francisco and Paris.
All Lee Miller material, works and photographs are © Lee Miller Archives, England 2017. All rights reserved. / leemiller.co.uk
Photo: Courtesy of Lee Miller Archives and Antony Penrose