Richard Mueller is a genius 1

Additions to the article Richard Müller "Genius between light and shadow"

Facsimile of the court ruling from 1949 / extract from a letter to his deceased wife

Facsimile of the court judgment


That’s why they’re here to answer for themselves - Thoughts of Richard Müller after the death of his wife Lillian Sanderson

“Lillian Sanderson became aware of the art exhibition in Dresden in 1899 while on a concert tour through a poster. Interested in the performing arts as much as she was in music, she visited the exhibition and my work was particularly well received. At that time she bought a drawing from me, "Female Student Head", and sent it to her mother to America. One day I received a letter from Lillian Sanderson from Vienna in which she expressed the wish to have me draw her for her concerts.

Undecided as to whether I should accept this assignment, I turned to the general manager Mr. von Seydlitz, whom I knew as a visitor to all good concerts and who described Lillian Sanderson as a great, very peculiar singer, whose concerts he always goes to for advice she performed in Dresden. She is also a beautiful woman. I should, he said, definitely accept the assignment. (...)

When she informed her that she would be waiting for me at the train station in Hasserode and that she had booked a room for me in the “Steinerne Renne” hotel in Hasserode, I set off. At the train station in Hasserode I immediately noticed a tall, stately and beautiful woman. I went up to her, dutifully took off my hat and introduced myself. "

A great love arose from the encounter. They married in 1900 and moved into the painter's house on Hermann-Vogel-Strasse 2. She gave up her job as a singer. In 1947 Lillian Sanderson died and Richard Müller, publicly pilloried, wrote in a letter to his deceased wife about shared experiences, his grief, but also about his current conflicts.

"The reviews of 'Degenerate Art' in 1934 were supposed to take my house and everything away from me. I was supposed to be out of the house and a great process was made against me and I had to defend myself publicly. The prosecutor gave me a year in prison and confiscated all my belongings, but then I was acquitted by judges and magistrates. Quite strange, the night before I dreamed so fondly of you. It was as if there had been no separation between us. That gave me such strength and calm that the prosecutor's verdict made no impression on me and finally acquittal seemed to me to be a matter of course. The hearing lasted from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

In 1947 I was summoned to the main police for denazification. 'You know why you were brought here?' 'No, but yes, a fur coat and a gray suit and several things were stolen from a locked cupboard to which only I have the keys after my wife's death. 'The official paused for a while, but then said:' No, you were a party member, you wrote against Degenerate Art and also drew several sites by Hitler, so you are here to answer your questions. How did you come to the party? ’“ One day Privy Councilor Hertzsch, the legal right-hand man of Reichsstatthalter Mutschmann, came to the academy and let me, the academy's rector, come. He wasn't exactly very friendly, as is customary among educated people, and told me that the party had the intention of founding an art chamber, what would you understand by an art chamber?

I said a place where all art matters come together and are also worked on by professionals, as the art demands. Actually, we already have that in the academy today. All files on the academic council, the artists' association, the chamber of experts, the money for the purchase of the picture gallery "Pröll-Heuer, Munkelsteuer", etc. rest here and are managed from here. This is where the meetings are held. Suddenly, after eight minutes, I was asked if I was a member of the party. When I said no, the answer I got, then I can't negotiate with them any further, took his hat off the table and wanted to leave. He also went to the door and suddenly turned around and said, I can't come again, I don't have time for that, I'll report you immediately.

Mr. Hertzsch had no idea or feeling for art. I showed him all the files. He made some notes, looked at the rooms where the meetings were taking place and also the auditorium next door, where works were exhibited that were shown and discussed at the respective meetings. If I had said at the time that the admission of the party came too unexpectedly for me, I have to think about it first, then Herr Hertzsch would have left me immediately without a word and I would have been dismissed as rector and teacher on the spot, and perhaps without a pension.

Then I was asked further: 'You wrote against degenerate art in the town hall at that time and thereby harmed many artists.' 'The Ministry, Chamber of Experts, Lord Mayor of Dresden Zörner and the entire student body forced me to express myself publicly and I as an expert was unanimously elected by the three ministries. The works exhibited had nothing to do with art and the public turned against the academy on this matter, blaming the academy for it. You had to see the work. A herring bone nailed to a wooden lid. 'Hope or longing' was then the name of the works. It has nothing to do with art. Not them, but we, who have learned our craft properly and study nature properly and try very hard to draw and paint correctly, are damaged by the audience, because artists no longer take us seriously when we do this stupid stuff is exhibited and labeled as new or 'uncharted territory'. '

I received letters from many serious people and praised myself that finally a good artist dares to call this nonsense by its real name. '' Then they drew Hitler's sites. '' Yes. '' How did you get there? '' Reichsstatthalter Mutschmann, Lord Mayor Zörner and Privy Councilor Hertzsch sat down and racked their brains. What can you give the Führer for Christmas? He has money, gold, diamonds, oil paintings, bronzes in abundance and finally the idea of ​​drawing 'Hitler's memorials' was born. And only one artist comes into consideration here and that is Richard Müller. I was called, Privy Councilor Hertzsch told me the whole process. How much money do you need in Austrian foreign exchange? I replied, probably 360 marks and immediately received a note issued to the Staatsbank Berlin, which was supposed to provide me with the money here in Dresden so that I could start immediately.

I immediately turned to Berlin, but received a refusal. I hadn't been away for a long time, Austrian cuisine, beer, being able to draw from nature again, always being able to be outdoors a lot, also being able to see something new, attracted me a lot and I tried, with 20 RM, the one At that time, it was possible to have with you to come to Salzburg at the narrowest point near the Tegernsee. I could get as far as the vicinity of the Tegernsee with German money. In Salzburg I immediately drew the castle, horse pond, etc. - popular motifs and soon a buyer came along too. He offered me 800 marks in Austrian currency for 4 drawings. I sold them, had enough money and now started my tour for the Hitler drawings according to plan. I also made several drawings for myself of 'Anton Bruckner' in Linz, St. Florian etc. and then drove home via Switzerland to Schaffhausen - to also draw the Rhine Falls several times.

At the border I was let through unmolested. In Dresden I was asked by the Kunstverein to exhibit the drawings. After about three days the Fuehrer's deputy, Hess, called me by phone, saying that he had heard about the exhibition. He would like to buy the exhibition, all the sheets, closed and give them to the Führer for Christmas. Cost does not matter. As a member of the board of the Dresdner Kunstverein, I knew that the Kunstverein has the right of first refusal for all exhibited works. Lord Mayor Zörner was the chairman of the art association and I had to speak to him about it. I called him by phone and told him and he asked me if he could not speak to me personally or if I could come to him. He was very interested in the whole thing and immediately went to see him at the town hall. He listened very attentively and probably thought that you would not miss the opportunity to introduce yourself to the Fiihrer and gave me the answer: 'The Kunstverein has the right of first refusal.' I asked him, 'What should I answer Hess?' That is their business. I had a very uncomfortable argument with Hess.

Zörner kept the drawings, had a very nice chest made from an old oak trunk that had been pulled from the Elbe and dyed dark blue-black, provided with drawers to put the drawings in and to give to the Führer as a Christmas present. When the Reich Governor (Mutschmann) found out about it and Zörner did not grant Zörner the wonderful gift and he could not have it himself, a mortal hostility arose between the two, which ended with Mutschmann forbid Zörner to remove the chest from the town hall. Can you imagine if your police chief would let me come to the main police and tell me that he had the intention to have this and that drawn for the first Russian general as a Christmas present and only I could solve it artistically correctly, that I refused ? '

That was the end of my interrogation and all of the above was put on paper and I was released afterwards. After a few days, the officer who behaved decently towards me came to my house and asked me about my cash wealth. I showed him my savings book with 4000 RM and my bank account with about 1100 RM. These two sums are intended for the tombstone and grave surround of my wife, who recently passed away. The stones can arrive here any day. You are coming from Rochlitz as planned and for that I have to keep this sum ready. I was also able to show him the drawing of me on the tombstone. "

Excerpts from: “My acquaintance with Lillian Sanderson” and “The death of my wife and final thoughts” by Richard Müller

Tagged with: 1949, 2nd World War, letter, letter (excerpt), Dresden, degenerate art, denazification, court judgment, Dresden art academy, Loschwitz, Richard Müller
Posted in Fine Arts, Arts and Culture, Additional Articles Online