Dates: b. 1915-d. 2010
Denis Wirth-Miller was born in Kent and after school pursued a career in textile design in Manchester. Moving to London in 1937 he met his life-partner Richard ‘Dicky’ Chopping. Together they moved to Kelvedon at the outbreak of war and came within the circle of Cedric Morris and Arthur Lett-Haines, visiting and working at the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing in Hadleigh during it’s heyday in the late 40s and 50s. In 1946 Denis and Dicky moved to Wivenhoe, duly becoming central figures in the burgeoning art community which flourished there. They were often joined by Francis Bacon who also had a property in Wivenhoe and the three artists shared a complicated and at times strained relationship, they also shared a notoriety for drink fuelled hell-raising in the local community.
Denis Wirth-Miller did commercial work and illustration but is best known for his oil paintings, usually on canvas and often on a large scale with highly sculpted impasto work, subjects include portraiture and animal subjects, later in his career his principle interest was landscape, marsh and moorland, it has been recorded that he worked together with Francis Bacon on a number of works. His paintings surface infrequently at auction but are sought after when they emerge, Reeman Dansie has achieved several of the highest auction prices including the record price for Denis Wirth-Miller’s work, for Portrait of Francis Bacon which sold 13th April 2016 for £10,500.