- Otto Mueller
- Liegende Frau (Sleeping Woman)
- Signed Otto Mueller (lower right)
- Crayon, brush and ink and ink wash on paper
- 13 3/4 by 19 1/2 in.
- 34.9 by 49.5 cm
Acquired at the above sale
Barry Herbert writes of Mueller’s vision thus: “[Mueller’s art] is a poetic vision of a fantasy dream world incorporating influences that ranged from ancient Egypt to Ludwig von Hofmann…from Lucas Cranach’s ambiguously erotic female nudes (Mueller kept a reproduction of Cranach’s Venus on his studio wall) to the work of Wilhelm Lehmbruck whose “limb architecture” was generally considered to be the best Contemporary Expressionist Sculpture” (Barry Herbert, German Expressionists, ‘Die Brücke’ and ‘Der Blaue Reiter,’ London, 1983, p. 64). Liegende Frau combines the “ambiguously erotic” that Mueller saw in Cranach with the angular, expressive “limb architecture” that the great Expressionist sculptor Wilhelm Lehmbruck had pioneered in the first decades of the century, a combination that imbues the painting with an enduring presence and simple yet monumental grace.
Mueller’s admiration for the forms and chalky surfaces of Egyptian wall paintings contributed to the development of his distinctive style and technique as evidenced in the present work. Discussing Mueller’s technique, Peter Selz notes that by 1908 Mueller "had rediscovered the peculiar qualities of distemper (Leimfarbe), which medium permitted the unified application of liquid paint in thin layers over large planes. He was thus able to attain an effect like fresco, even tapestry. Kirchner, in the Chronik der Brücke said simply: 'He introduced us to the fascination of distemper technique'” (Peter Selz, German Expressionist Painting, Berkeley & Los Angeles, 1957, p. 115).