1922 – 1958
Art Students League of New York
Hans Hoffman School
Hansa Gallery, New York, 1952
Whitney Museum of American Art, 1957
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1962 (solo)
Art Institute of Chicago
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
The Newark Museum, New Jersey
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Jan Muller emigrated from Germany in 1933 after his father was arrested by the Nazis for campaigning against Hitler. The family fled Germany, seeking homes throughout Europe, going to Czechoslovakia and a refugee camp in southern France before finally settling in New York in 1941. He studied at the Art Students League of New York and for five years at the Hans Hoffman School. Muller, a second generation Abstract Expressionist, worked with symbolic figurative expressionism and included the figure in his work, which was a very bold move. He was considered a second generation abstract expressionist prior to becoming one of the pioneers of Figurral Expressionism. He along with artists such as Lester Johnson, Bob Thompson, and Robert Beauchamp were among the first to reintroduce the symbolic figure in their highly expressive avant-garde canvases. He is known for his depictions of brightly colored nudes and his raw use of color.
Although his career was cut short by his untimely death at age 36, Muller achieved a truly impressive level of critical success. His work has been exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art, at the Art Institute of Chicago, and in 1962 the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum honored Muller with a major retrospective exhibition. Today his work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Newark Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.