Richard Müller's precocious draftsmanship earned him early admission, at 16, to the Dresden Academy. In 1895, his career as a painter already well-established, he sought out Max Klinger, then at the height of his fame as Germany's pre-eminent Symbolist, who taught Müller the techniques of etching.
For the most part Müller avoided social themes, that aspect of Klinger's oeuvre pursued by his other major disciple, Käthe Kollwitz. Rather, Müller was to emphasize symbol and metaphor in his fantastic, sometimes macabre, images. At the same time, by contrast, he frequently displays an ironic wit and engaging whimsy. His nudes are courted by grotesque animals and birds, while his bear-artist performs for a monkey public.
Though awarded the Prix de Rome in 1897, Müller abandoned etching after 1924 in favor of rather grimly realistic drawings and paintings. He was a prominent professor for 35 years at the Dresden Academy, where his students included Otto Dix and George Grosz. On these he seems to have been influential chiefly in provoking a reaction however, as he steadfastly resisted the waves of expressionism and modernism sweeping Germany early in the century.
Following several decades of neglect - a fate shared by his mentor, Klinger - Müller's resurgence began in 1974 with a major exhibition at Galerie Brockstedt in Hamburg, and another at the Picadilly Gallery, London the following year.
1874 - Born in Tschirnitz/Böhmen
1888/89 - Attended School of Porcelain Manufacturing (Dresden China) in Meissen
1890/91 - Attended Dresden Academy
1894 - First exhibition, Dresden
1895 - First encounter with Max Klinger, and with etching
1897 - Rome Prize for Graphics
1898 - Golden Medallion prize for his painting Sister of Mercy
1900 - Professor at the Dresden Academy until 1935; teacher of, among others, Otto Dix, George Grosz, Bernhard Kretzschmar, Richard Scheibe.
1954 - Died in Dresden-Loschwitz
Selected Museum Collections
Modern Galerie, Prague
National Gallery, Berlin
The New York Public Library, New York
See works by Richard Müller
See a list of all Gallery Artists