Richard Müller was born in 1874 in Tschirnitz, located in today’s Czech Republic. At 14, he joined the Royal Saxon Porcelain Manufactory in Meissen, where he spent two years. By 1890, at 16, Müller was accepted to the Art Academy in Dresden. It was in Dresden that he met Max Klinger, a preeminent symbolist and printmaker, who taught Müller the techniques of etching.
In 1900 Müller was appointed professor at the Academy where his students included Otto Dix and George Grosz. In 1933 he became president of the Dresden Academy. Hitler had just seized power and began to pursue “subversive artists” with Otto Dix an early target. As president, Müller confirmed Dix’s dismissal, but two years later it was Müller himself who lost his professorship because of “subversive tendencies in his art”.
Despite his dismissal, Müller remained a favorite of the Nazi régime, exhibiting a drawing of Hitler’s birthplace at the Great German Art Exhibition in 1939. Müller died in Dresden in 1954, largely forgotten. After decades of neglect, Müller’s resurgence began in 1974 with a major exhibition at Galerie Brockstedt in Hamburg, and another at the Picadilly Gallery, London the following year.