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First seen at an ICA Group show in 1996, Miller’s Penguin Prints, the now-iconic book jacket paintings, were what propelled him to art-world acclaim. The founder of White Cube gallery Jay Jopling, who visited the exhibition, saw great potential in the Penguin works and arranged a studio visit with Miller. He has been represented by White Cube ever since and is now amongst the gallery’s most sought-after artists.
Harland Miller’s prints and paintings based on dust jackets came from his stumbling upon a box of Penguin Books outside a second-hand English bookstore in Paris in 1992. Their dusty, old and damp smell apparently reminded him of Northern England and his hometown of Yorkshire. This is when he experienced a “Eureka!” moment:
‘I realised that the design of those classics would throw all the focus on to the title of the book, which is exactly what I wanted to do.(…) People are so used to the format already with the text in the middle that you could really say whatever you wanted.’