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Fine Art, Dog Portrait, Banco, Poodle, Flora Payne Whitney, Vintage Painting, 1960

George MacCulloch Miller III (1886-1972)
Oil on canvas
Titled, initialed by artist, dated lower right: “BANCO G.M.M. Paris 1960”
Provenance: Descended in the family of Flora Payne Whitney
16.5 x 13 inches, stretcher
20.5 x 17 inches, framed

Charming profile portrait of one of Flora Payne Whitney Miller’s favorite dogs, her poodle, Banco. It was painted by her husband George MacCulloch Miller, also known as Cully. The light gray dog sits in the sun on a garden path. Whitney Miller (1897–1986) was an American artist, art collector, and philanthropist, who worked closely with her mother, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, in the founding and endowing of the Whitney Museum of Art. After her mother’s death, she served as its president from 1941 to 1966, and as chairman from 1966 to 1974. This very painting is illustrated in the book Flora Whitney Miller: Her Life, Her World, a tribute published by the Whitney Museum in 1987, the year after she died. In the book it is accompanied by a remembrance of her love of Banco written by one of her sons (see description continuation below).

Product description continues below.


In Flora Whitney Miller: Her Life, Her World, the offered painting is accompanied by the following text by her son from her first marriage, Whitney Tower:

Dogs, particularly poodles and long-haired dachshunds, played an important part in Ma’s life. She didn’t want to trot them around the ring at the Westminster or anything like that. Far from it. She just wanted them around most of the time, and it mattered not one tiny bit to her if some of us who were also around most of the time failed to recognize the same lovable qualities she so admired in her friends. The two pictured here with her in Old Westbury in 1956 are Banshee and Banco.


Banco was Ma’s last great canine pride and joy. He became something of a celebrity. For example, none of the family’s station wagons came equipped with radios because, “Darling, you know that radio noises upset Banco so.” Cully’s visits to the Ritz Bar in Paris had to be rescheduled if Scott was using the car to chauffeur Banco to his hairdresser. The highlight of Banco’s career and, for that matter, a landmark in the history of the United States Lines, occurred in 1952. On the voyage from France to New York, Ma was noticeably disturbed by Banco’s kennel accommodations topside on the spanking new superliner the S.S. United States. This definitely called for action, and who better to lodge a protest with than fellow traveler and close friend Vincent Astor, the most influential big wheel in the U.S. Lines board room. The results were startling but not entirely unexpected: before her next sailing, the United States was equipped with new, enlarged kennels. I always thought they should have had a plaque saying, “Courtesy of Banco Miller.”

George MacCulloch Miller was an American architect and an artist working in oils and watercolors. He studied at the Art Students League. In 1927, he married Flora Payne Whitney. Miller was a partner with Augustus L. Noel in the architectural firm of Noel & Miller from 1930 to 1948, which designed the original Eighth Street building for the Whitney Museum of American Art. He also served as a trustee of the museum.

Condition: Generally very good with the usual light overall wear. Original gilt frame considerably worn, but still attractive.


“George M. Miller, Artist, Dies at 85.” New York Times. 12 September 1972. p. 48. (27 September 2019).

Horsley, Carter B. “The Museum of Modern Art’s Expansions.” The City Review. (27 September 2019).

Tower, Whitney. “Banshee and Banco” in Flora Whitney Miller: Her Life, Her World. New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1987. p. 68. Online at (27 September 2019).