Richard Müller’s Liegender Mädchenakt auf Diwan

(Last Updated On May 25, 2022)

I’ve been wanting to post something by Richard Müller for ages but up until recently I couldn’t find anything that really fit the blog’s theme. There were some lovely images of boys, including Boy with Snake and David and Goliath, but nothing featuring girls. That was unfortunate, because I really love Müller’s work. He was a German Symbolist and surrealist painter and illustrator, born in what used to be Tschirnitz, Bohemia (now Cernovice nad Ohra, Czech Republic). At fourteen he began attending the School of the Royal Saxon Porcelain Manufactory in Meissen, Germany. Post-graduation, he entered the Art Academy in Dresden, eventually becoming an instructor at the very same academy. Under the Nazis, Müller, after 35 years as an influential professor and a couple years as president of the Academy, eventually lost his position due to his “subversive tendencies”—any artist who annoyed the Nazis is okay in my book.

Anyway, I thought I’d never get to post anything by Müller here. But then I happened upon this glorious work, Liegender Mädchenakt auf Diwan, which exceeded any expectations I could’ve had for anything suitable for Pigtails. Not only does it feature a beautifully painted nude young girl but the size and quality of the image was exceptional. In fact, this is reduced to forty percent of the original size, and I had to downsize it by about 500 kilobytes as well. If you want the full-sized image just Google the title; it should come up.

What I particularly fancy about this image is the girl’s pose, which strikes just the right balance between formal stiffness and relaxation: the legs crossed at the ankles, the way her right hand casually toys with her hair, the little pudgy rolls of flesh around her hips, even the look on her face, which could be boredom or sleepiness, gives this girl a humanity and familiarity without pushing her into tawdriness or sexual suggestiveness. She’s a child who is only just becoming aware of her feminine appeal. The silky, dark green ribbons tied into her loosely-braided hair contrasts nicely with the warmth and texture of her skin too. A truly lovely piece.

Richard Müller – Liegender Mädchenakt auf Diwan (1924)

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About Pip Starr

I am the founder and original editor-in-chief of Pigtails in Paint, running it initially by myself for the first few years. Then Ron joined the party, and I eventually ceded overall control of Pigtails to him, taking a back seat to focus on other things. Best decision I've ever made.

4 thoughts on “Richard Müller’s Liegender Mädchenakt auf Diwan

  1. Not sexual? I can assure you it is very sexual. I thought this was a ‘girl-love’ website and you still have to engage with these weird modern attitudes.

    As for Muller, my understanding is that his relationship with the NAZIS was far more nuanced than you are suggesting. Again, an artist is ‘okay in your book’ because of his social and political views?

    The German guy here ( ) met the woman who claimed to have been the model for a later similar painting, which confuses me as I thought this girl and her were the same.

    • Strictly speaking, sure, it’s sexual in an academic sense. But I’m sure what my colleague meant was that it is not lascivious, sexual in an explicit way. Images like this I refer to as erotic. That may sound weird to people too but it really just suggests appreciation of the loveliness of the model which inevitably carries with it some implication of sexuality.
      I didn’t do the research for this article but whenever talking about the Nazis, most people find they have to equivocate a certain amount to distance themselves. This habit has gotten out of hand after our recent period of cancel culture and particular podcasters are especially annoying. It is unfortunate that political groups like the Nazis who also engage in social commentary tend to taint many things that are beautiful (the music of Richard Wagner comes immediately to mind). Also, one must take a close look in the mirror before condemning those who only appear to cooperate out of a desperate attempt at survival. We do not all have the same capacity for courage.
      I try to maintain an air of academic detachment here and assume readers know I would never condone the horrific actions taken by groups now or in the past. On the other hand, we must be patient with those who feel they have to bend over backwards to show they are virtuous, whether as a simple neurotic impulse or out of political necessity with an audience who are likely to misunderstand.
      I’m not sure if this exactly addresses your comment, but it prompted me to clear the air a little bit. -Ron

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