We were honored to have the opportunity to make this biographical short on Jan Müller, the somewhat forgotten hero of the New York School, a leader of his generation of painters who lived a short but creatively explosive life; whose legacy is evident in his oeuvre. 

Jan Müller was born in Hamburg, Germany in 1922.  His father was a political activist who fled from Hitler in the 1930s, emigrating with his family to the U.S. in 1941. 

Müller studied painting under Hans Hofmann from 1945-50.

In 1954, Müller underwent heart surgery during which a plastic pacemaker was implanted.  This constant reminder of the passage of time is perhaps, in part, responsible both for the fury with which he painted until his death in 1958 and the urgency with which he made the radical and courageous shift from abstraction to figuration.

Jan Müller’s work has been included in exhibitions at the Whitney Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, The Jewish Museum, and the 1962 Venice Biennale among others.  The artist regularly showed with the Hansa gallery, of which he was a founding member, until his untimely death.


For this video we have interviewed the art historian Martica Sawin who was the art-critic-in-residence so to say for the downtown New York Art Scene of the 1950s.

In her commentary on the life and work of Jan Müller; Sawin transports us to the height of the convergence of Representationalism and Abstract Expressionism in the most exciting city in the world.

Jan Müller was born in Hamburg, Germany in 1922.  His father was a political activist who fled from Hitler in the 1930s, emigrating with his family to the U.S. in 1941. 

Müller studied painting under Hans Hofmann from 1945-50.  In 1954, Müller underwent heart surgery during which a plastic pacemaker was implanted. 

This constant reminder of the passage of time is perhaps, in part, responsible both for the fury with which he painted until his death in 1958 and the urgency with which he made the radical and courageous shift from abstraction to figuration. 

Jan Müller’s work has been included in exhibitions at the Whitney Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, The Jewish Museum, and the 1962 Venice Biennale among others.  The artist regularly showed with the Hansa gallery, of which he was a founding member, until his untimely death.

Ian Müller is represented by Bookstein Projects, New York.  www.booksteinprojects.com

Jack of Diamonds Productions, 2019 ©