Alexander Mueller (1872 - 1935)

Birth date: 2/29/1872 Death date: 3/16/1935  
Birth location: Death location:  
Media: Graphic Art , Painting Web site:
Comprehensive (file rating) - Major Wisconsin artist file that includes comprehensive documentation on artist's life that can be researched on site at MWA.


Alexander Mueller
Born 1872 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Died 1935 in San Marino, California

Alexander Mueller was a Wisconsin painter and art teacher who made a deep impression on the Milwaukee art scene. His father was a German immigrant and his mother was Milwaukee-born to German immigrant parents. Wisconsin artists Hugo Broich (a photographer) and Alexander von Cotzhausen (Broich's nephew) were distant relatives to Mueller. His early art training was under prominent Wisconsin artist Richard Lorenz at the Wisconsin School of Design in Milwaukee. At that time he worked as a lithographer, engraver, and draftsman. From 1894-1896 Mueller studied under Max Thedy in Weimar, Germany. From 1896-1899 he studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Munich under Carl von Marr.

On returning to Milwaukee, Mueller established himself as a leader and educator. He was prominent in a series of interrelated art schools and organizations. In 1900 Mueller was one of the founders of the Society of Milwaukee Artists (later known as The Wisconsin Painters & Sculptors). That year he also became the director of the Milwaukee Art Students League, increasing its membership and reorganizing its school as The Wisconsin School of Art (also known as the State School of Art, and later as the Wisconsin School of Fine and Applied Arts). Mueller’s school became an autonomous unit of the State Normal School (later to become the Milwaukee State Teacher’s College) and is currently the art department of the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. He was very influential as a teacher; one of his most widely known students was Edward Steichen.

Mueller maintained his studio in the University Building at 111 Mason Street, Milwaukee from 1890-1911. In 1912 he married another Milwaukee artist, Martha Kaross, who taught on the faculty of the Wisconsin School of Art; they had two children. In 1918 he was appointed to the Milwaukee Art Commission, a committee that would advise the mayor on proposed public projects. Around 1922 Mueller was becoming dissatisfied with the running of the State Normal School and chose to resign. He spent the next five years in Europe, settling his family in the Munich countryside to concentrate on painting. In 1928 he returned to Milwaukee for a short time and exhibited “Paintings by Alexander Mueller” at the Milwaukee Art Institute. Wanting to live in a warmer climate, he moved his family to San Marino, California later in 1928. He remained in San Marino until his death in 1935.

Mueller’s artwork depicts Wisconsin and California landscapes along with scenes from Europe. He also painted portraits. Despite his importance in the Milwaukee art establishment during his time, only a few of his paintings can be found in public collections: those at the Milwaukee Art Museum, UW-Milwaukee, and the Museum of Wisconsin Art.

Selected One-Person Exhibitions

 1928 “Paintings by Alexander Mueller”,  Milwaukee Art Institute

Selected Group Exhibitions

 1900 Society of Milwaukee Artists, Durbin's Gallery
 1901 Society of Milwaukee Artists, Public Library, Milwaukee
 1902 Society of Milwaukee Artists, Public Library, Milwaukee
 c.1910 Society of Milwaukee Artists, Milwaukee Auditorium
 1963 “Wisconsin Artists 1855 Until Today”, Milwaukee Art Center
 1974 Milwaukee Paintings of the 1920s and 30s, Charles Allis Art Library

Wisconsin Affiliations

No affiliations were found.

Wisconsin Art Organizations

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