Otto Mueller (1874 – 1930)

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Two Girls in the Woods 1920

Otto Mueller was a German painter and printmaker of the expressionist movement. Mueller was born on October 16, 1874, in Liebau (now Lubawka, Poland), Kreis Landeshut, German Silesia. Between 1890-1892 he was trained in lithography in Görlitz and Breslau. From 1894 to 1896 he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Dresden and continued his study in Munich 1898. He left Munich’s academy after Franz von Stuck classified him as untalented.

Yellow Cow

His early works are influenced by impressionism, Jugendstil and symbolism. When he settled to Berlin in 1908, he turned more and more to the expressionism. During this time there were meetings with Wilhelm Lehmbruck, Rainer Maria Rilke and Erich Heckel. In 1910, he joined ‘Die Brücke’, a Dresden-based group of Expressionist artists. He was member of the group until it disbanded in 1913 due to artistic differences. At the same time Mueller also had contact with the artists group of the ‘Blaue Reiter’.

Two Bathers

During the World War I he fought as a German soldier in France and Russia. After the war he became professor at the academy of arts (Akademie der Bildenden Kunste) in Breslau where he taught until his death on September 24, 1930. Johnny Friedlaender and Isidor Ascheim were among his pupils there. Altogether his printmaking amounted to 172 prints, in woodcut, etching and lithography.

Four Nudes

In 1937 the Nazis seized 357 of his works from German museums, since the pictures were considered as degenerate art.

Two Girls

Mueller was one of the most lyrical of German expressionist painters. The central topic in Mueller’s works is the unity of humans and nature, whereas his paintings are focused on a harmonious simplification of form, colour and contours. He is especially known for his characteristic paintings of nudes and gypsy women.

Pair of Lovers 1919

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