* 16 October 1874 in Liebau (Giant Mountains); † 24 September 1930 in Obernigk near Breslau
painter and graphic artist
Otto Mueller is one of the major representatives of German Expressionism, even if expressiveness is quite alien to him – his pictures being rather quiet, gentle, and pensive. ‘The main objective which I pursue to express, with utmost simplicity, is the perception of landscape and human being’, as he formulated his artistic request. Typical of him are – in an earthy colour range – nudes, slender girls in a free countryside, as well as gypsy-life scenes.
After an apprenticeship as a lithographer, Mueller attends the Kunstakademie in Dresden from 1894 to 1896, and undertakes a study trip to Munich in 1898. Together with his wife Maschka Meyerhofer, his favourite model, he lives from 1900 on in different places and continues his education autodidactically. In 1908 he chooses Berlin as his place of residence. After unsuccessful attempts to join the Berliner Secession, Mueller, together with other rejected candidates, founds the New Secession. In the same year, he gets in touch with members of the artists’ group Brücke and cooperates in their association. Mueller takes part in the two most important Brücke exhibitions – 1910 in the Dresden Galerie Arnold and 1912 in the Berliner Galerie Fritz Gurlitt. The artist’s works are also shown in presentations of the Blaue Reiter. When the Brücke is dissolved in 1913, the painter maintains his contacts with Erich Heckel and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. In 1915, Mueller fights as a soldier in the battles of the First World War. After the war, in 1919, he joins the Arbeitsrat für Kunst, an institution that cooperates closely with the November Group. From 1919 until his death in 1930, Mueller teaches as professor at the Breslau Kunstakademie, where Gerhard Hein is among his students. In 1937, the National Socialists confiscate 357 works of the artist, defaming them as ‘degenerate art’. In 1955, some of his works are exhibited at the documenta in Kassel.