Study of a standing female nude
  • Richard Müller
  • Tschirnitz / Bohemia 1874 -1954 Dresden
  • Study of a standing female nude
  • Black chalk, partly smeared, on cream paper, cut down and mounted
  • signed: Rich. Müller
  • 403 × 173 mm

In keeping with the classical traditions he had learned in the academy, Richard Müller continuously returned to the foundations of his graphic perfection: the representation of the human body in diverse poses. We should view the present study of a standing young woman with raised arms in light of this background. Müller sketched his model‘s flawless body in splendid sfumato. The young woman remains anonymous, shielded by her upraised left hand and the strong shadowing on her face. Neither her hair, braided into knots, nor the lack of a strut supporting her right arm seem to have disturbed the draftsman in creating this idealized depiction of female proportions. The position of the woman‘s supporting leg and free leg also demonstrate the years of careful training behind this practiced artist, whose beauty ideals nevertheless remain fully attached to the tastes of his time. Richard Müller was never quite able to escape the new body-consciousness of the reform movement that had gained an increasing number of followers since the turn of the century, however. He gained familiarity with the concepts of naturopathy and nudism, in particular, through his artist friend Sascha Schneider (1870-1927). It was finally possible for modern men and women to step out of the prudish 19th century and into the fresh air and sunlight. Müller‘s painting Passing Clouds (Fig. 1) from 1917 is, in many ways, a late commemoration to these ideas, but it also presents us with one of the artist‘s favorite symbolic animals – the coati, or hog-nosed coon –, which plays a major role not only in the following drawing.