Otto Mueller was born in 1874 in Liebau in the Sudeten mountains. Through an apprenticeship as a lithographer in Görlitz, which he began in 1890, his artistic talent was discovered soon and he was able to attend the Academy of Fine Arts from 1894-96 in Dresden. From 1898 he continued his studies in Munich, but was unable to finish them. Back in Dresden he met his future wife Masha Meyer Hofer, who became his favorite model.
In 1908 he moved to Berlin. His model was now the sculptures of his artist friend Wilhelm Lehmbruck. During this time he began to paint the slim female figures, which are so characteristic of him today.
After trying to join the "Berlin Secession" he founded the "New Secession" with other artists in 1910. At this time he met the painters of the "Brücke". The "Brücke" painters turned away from the academically perfect reproduction of nature. Although Mueller's style was very similar to the other "Brücke" painters, he preferred a muted color scheme of lyrical decorative effect.
He took part in the two outstanding "Brücke" exhibtions: 1910 at the Dresden Gallery Arnold, 1912 at the Berlin art dealer Fritz Gurlitt. At the same time, he exhibited with the artists of the "Blaue Reiter".
After the First World War, which he experienced as a soldier in France and later in Russia, he was appointed in 1919 as professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Wroclaw, where he taught until his death in 1930. Today Otto Mueller is one of the most important German Expressionists.