Two Sisters
Otto Mueller
Oil on Canvas
(undated but probably 1919)

The young Otto Mueller studied at the art academies of Dresden and Munich, but was largely self-trained. In the early 1900's he came under the sway of Art Nouveau, Symbolism, and Impressionism. In 1908 he moved to Berlin where he was drawn to the expressionists, joining Die Brücke ("The Bridge"), in 1910.

Mueller served in the army from 1916 to 1918, when he developed pneumonia and was relieved from further service. His art seemed untouched by the horrors of war, and he continued where he left off once out of the conflict - painting primitive portraits and landscapes. In 1919 he joined the radical Arbeitsrats für Kunst, which sought to pass on the goals of the socialist November revolution to the world of art.

However, Mueller's radical politics seldom were made apparent in his artworks. From 1919 to 1930, he largely committed himself to portraying Gypsies and their way of life, conjuring up some marvelously sensitive portraits like the one on this page. In 1930 the artist died in Breslau (today's Wroclaw/Poland), and in 1937 his artworks were posthumously declared by the Nazis to be entartete kunst ("degenerate art"). The fascists removed 357 of Mueller's artworks from German museums.
www.art-for-a-change.com is owned and operated by Mark Vallen © All text by Mark Vallen.