Otto Mueller, ‘Finding of Moses (Auffindung des Moses)’, ca. 1920, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Image rights: Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington

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About Otto Mueller

Otto Mueller’s Expressionist paintings and prints developed from an earlier style deeply rooted in Post-Impressionism, Symbolism, and Jugendstil (Art Nouveau), maintaining the latter’s emphasis on graceful silhouettes. Mueller distinguished himself from his Die Brücke peers by focusing more on harmonious simplification of color than expressing raw emotion, as exemplified by Reclining Nude in the Dunes (1923). Representative of the classically elegant female nudes in landscapes for which he is most celebrated, the tempera painting depicts a woman lying face down in the sand—the strong contours of her body echo the desert topography and evoke the communion of humans and nature, rather than intense emotion more typical of Expressionism. The pinnacle of his graphic art is “Gypsy-Portfolio” (1927), a series of nine boldly colored lithographs.

German, 1874-1930, Libawka, Poland