Old farmers with their dog in Dohna
  • Richard Müller
  • Tschirnitz / Bohemia 1874 -1954 Dresden
  • Old farmers with their dog in Dohna, 1939
  • Pencil and black chalk, partly smeared, on paper
  • inscribed, dated and signed: Dohna i. Sa. 1939 / Rich. Müller
  • 676 × 479 mm

The situation is quite different again in the large-format portrayal of a farmers' couple in Dohna from 1939 where the pair, along with their dog, appears to have been positioned like models by the artist himself. In the center of this hyper-realistic representation is the farmer himself; with a filthy apron, cane, and pipe, this master of the barnyard looks past his wife, who turns her back to the viewer as she stoops, with difficulty, under a wooden barrel. The farmer‘s submissive-looking German Shepherd waits on the left side. The striking tower of the Protestant St. Mary‘s Church in Dohna, which dates to 1684, dominates the background of the scene. This arrangement, which seems so curiously posed, and the technical brilliance and photographic illusion of the drawing, are still perplexing today. The motif seems so exaggerated that it almost becomes a caricature of itself. But perhaps one should not underestimate the great humor of Richard Müller, who always liked to play optical tricks on his viewer.

Although there has been little discussion in recent decades about Richard Müller and his unique oeuvre of paintings, etchings, and especially drawings, an awareness of his importance never fully disappeared among knowledgeable collectors of early 20th-century art. His talent and enormous creativity were only brought to the attention of the wider public in 1974/75, however, through exhibitions and catalogues by the galleries Brockstedt in Hamburg and Pels-Leusden in Berlin. The rediscovery of the artist‘s estate after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the appearance of Corinna Wodarz‘s comprehensive dissertation, which includes a catalogue raisonné of the artist‘s work, in 2002 in Göttingen (Symbol und Eros. Die Bildwelten Richard Müllers), have also assisted this long-overdue reevaluation of his work. Most recently, the Museum der Bildenden Künste in Leipzig, with its 2013 exhibition The Beauty and the Beast (Die Schöne und das Biest), provided a well-deserved, official stage once again for the ever-perplexing, yet inspiring, artist Richard Müller.