Otto Mueller (October 16, 1874, Libau, Silesia - September 24, 1930, Breslau) - an outstanding German artist, a major representative of German expressionism, a member of the group "Bridge" since 1910.
The Nazis found Otto Mueller's work harmful and racially hostile and put him on a par with Jewish artists. But the master himself did not care at all, because he did not interfere in political affairs and kept away from the system that dominated German society.
Nor did Otto Mueller consider himself a German. Gypsy blood boiled in it, transmitted by the "inheritance" by the mother, the soul called for universal space, therefore Mueller chose the life of the nomadic people as the main motive of his work.
Then for Mueller began a period of students at the Dresden Academy of Arts. Here the aspiring artist showed his unsociable character in all its glory. For two years, each lesson became a confrontation between the professor and Otto, who was plagued by intrusive proofreading of the teacher. Much to the regret of the head of the Academy, Franz von Stuck, Muller’s study coincided with the reign of art nouveau. But Otto honed his temper and demonstrated creative ideals that went against the position of the master. The latter was a representative of the old school of painting, was ready to “devote serenades” to antique values, therefore he was repulsed by the position of a “green” youth, absolutely indifferent to such lofty ideals. At the end of the annual training, Franz von Stuck issued a verdict to the future star of expressionism: “he is completely incompetent.”
But Otto Mueller was proud of his freedom from academic culture. Together with the history of art, he never wanted to let her into his consciousness. The artist trusted only nature, and under the intuitive manner he drove a fairly well thought out theoretical base after meeting with the young expressionists from the “Bridge” group.
Joining her ranks in 1910, Mueller was well aware that his professional level of skill reached a serious height, the style became recognizable, and the theme of harmonious coexistence of nudity and space supplanted other subjects. Otto’s head was already turned by the traditions and life of the Moravian and Yugoslav Gypsies, in whose society the artist “reconciled” with himself.
Even a short but happy family life could not knock out the love of freedom from Otto. Maria Mayerhofer was the artist's wife and the permanent model of his paintings. Creative collaboration on old friendships Otto and Maria continued even after the divorce. From the former beloved Mueller did not go to another chosen one, but simply fled to the steppe.
During the First World War, he served first in the infantry, and later became a draftsman in the zeppelin unit, and by the end of the war he was demobilized with a serious lung disease that tormented him until the end of his life.
Returning from the front of the First World War, the artist moved to the camp. The period from 1927 to 1930 was the most productive for Otto. At that time he created the painting "Bathers", the lithographs "Gypsy Madonna" and portraits of Gypsy youth, whose representatives were only slightly covered clothes.
On Otto Mueller's canvases, one should not look for even a hint of Rubens' pomp of forms, so the bodies of Gypsy girls look as if they are drained by the sun and are weathered by the air of steppe freedom.
National Socialists could not forgive such escapism to Mueller. In 1937, they started a “disgraceful exhibition”, where the artist’s works were presented along with paintings officially recognized as alien to the German people. Otto Mueller did not live to see the years when National Socialists came to power in Germany and 357 of his works, paintings and lithographs were withdrawn from German museums, and he himself was declared "degenerate artist." By that time, seven years had passed since the artist’s death.