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Jan Müller

American, 1922-1958


Curating Works


Jan Müller was born in Hamburg, Germany in 1922. Having fled the Nazi regime in 1933, at age 12, he would separate and reunite with his family in search of safety and stability for the next eight years. It was in Switzerland that Müller suffered his first bout of rheumatic fever, an ailment that would trouble him for the remainder of his life. Müller arrived in New York in 1941, he worked odd jobs to afford to live and paint, studying at the Art Students League for a short period and then with Hans Hofmann. It was with Hofmann that Müller began to develop a mosaic-like approach to painting, a style he would continue to adapt into the 1950s. During this period Müller lived in a small studio in lower Manhattan spending his summers in Provincetown, MA. Müller associated with a group of artists that included Bob Thompson and Robert Motherwell. In 1955, after life-saving surgery to his rheumatic fever damaged heart, Müller returned to Provincetown to mount a solo exhibition at the newly opened Sun Gallery. Jan Müller died in January of 1958 from complications surrounding rheumatic fever at the young age of thirty-five. His works are found in the collections of MoMA, Guggenheim, Metropolitan, Whitney, Smithsonian, and Jewish Museum.