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Jan Müller, 1922–1958
Contributions by Thomas M. Messer and Dody Müller
Published in 1962
32 pages, fully illustrated
This catalogue documents Jan Müller's first museum exhibition; sadly, it was also his memorial exhibition. Born in Germany during the rise of the Nazi regime, Müller fled to the United States in 1941. Before his premature death from rheumatic fever at the age of 35, this student of Hans Hofmann reintroduced figurative painting into the New York School, at a time when the art world was still dominated by Abstract Expressionists. The catalogue includes a reflection on the artist's life by his widow, Dody Müller, and an appreciation of his art by director Thomas M. Messer. Color and black-and-white reproductions, an exhibition checklist, and a bibliography and exhibition history are also included.
If the entire strength of modern inventiveness has been marshaled to set painting free from presumably encumbering fetters, if every effort has been bent towards the establishment of an artistic independence from literature and from the object, why then is the restitution of these components an asset rather than a mere return to a discarded ideal? The answer must state that Müller's work marks a return only in one sense, and that a seeming backward motion is balanced by an onward movement which secures his placement with today's advanced guard.