He was born in Saint John, New Brunswick. Brittain studied art with Elizabeth Russell Holt in Saint John and Harry Wickey in New York City. In 1932, he returned to Saint John, where he worked at clerical and construction jobs and opened an art studio on the waterfront. During this period, he captured realistic scenes of everyday life in the city which incorporated social commentary. Brittain served with the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II and served two years as a war artist. He was a founding member of the Federation of Canadian Artists in 1941. After the war, his paintings took on a more surreal aspect, taking as their subject biblical topics, abstract figures, nudes and flowers. Brittain had married Connie Starr in 1951; he was devastated by her death from cancer seven years later and was treated several times for alcoholism in his later life. Brittain died in Saint John at the age of 54.
Brittain's work is held in private collections and a number of art galleries in Canada including the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, the National Gallery of Canada and the Canadian War Museum and retrospectives of his work have appeared in various Canadian galleries including the McMichael Canadian Art Collection and the National Gallery of Canada.
- "Miller Brittain - Biography". National Gallery of Canada. Retrieved 2009-10-25.
- "Miller Brittain: When the Stars Threw Down Their Spears". McMichael Canadian Art Collection. 2008. Retrieved 2009-10-25.
- "About Miller Brittain". National Gallery of Canada. 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-25.
- "Miller Brittain". National Film Board of Canada. Retrieved 2009-10-25.
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