The big pig
  • Richard Müller
  • Tschirnitz / Bohemia 1874 -1954 Dresden
  • The big pig, 1917
  • Pencil on paper, framing lines
  • signed and dated: Rich. Müller 1917
  • cat. rais. Z 1917.15
  • 153 × 192 mm
Franz H. Meißner: Das Werk von Richard Müller, Dresden 1921, no. 122, ill. p. 121

The creeping decline of Richard Müller‘s reputation in favor of his contemporaries began with the artist‘s early dismissal as Rector of the Dresden Academy in 1935. Many of his works were too provocative, “un-German,” or simply incomprehensible to the Nazis. Others, including many of his younger colleagues, lacked an appreciation for the awakening of modernity in his work. Even during the early phases of the changing artistic tendencies after World War I, however, Richard Müller vociferously opposed “amateurish quick painting,” and met any kind of abstraction with a firm rejection. Müller was also negatively influenced by his exalted son Adrian Lukas, who was permitted to advise his father and market his works even as a young man. His ambitions and right-wing attitudes harmed his politically-naive father time and time again. Before the war ended, however, Adrian Lukas took off for South America, and did not even return to Germany for the death of his parents. By 1935, Müller was trying to offer an extensive cycle entitled From Adolf Hitler‘s Homeland to the new ruler. Later on, he was not even above making calendar illustrations, having created more than 100 drawings between 1936 and 1940 alone for four editions of the Calendar for the Ore Mountains (Erzgebirge) and the Rest of Saxony. Familiar landscape themes, and increasingly the everyday life of ordinary people, played a role here, for Müller always felt connected to his origins despite his own social advancement. The two following depictions of rural life are quite typical examples of this creative phase. The old farm couple, who work kneeling between fruit trees on a gloomy autumn day, does not seem to notice the guest drawing next to them. The contrast between the masterly fine lines in these works and the sweeping strokes of snapshots from earlier years is evident in the depiction of the Big Pig, which Müller drew in the mud by his own fence. The expressiveness of this powerful drawing is supported even more through the smears he made to capture the motion on this small sheet. Müller also later created a corresponding etching for this motif.