Andrew John Mueller (1900 - 1984)

Birth date: 1900 Death date: 1984  
Birth location: Germantown, WI Death location: Appleton, WI  
Media: Illustration , Photography Web site:
Fair (file rating) - MWA artist file may include basic data, and additional newspaper articles, book references, exhibition information, and images that can be researched on site at MWA.

Biographical Brief

Birthdate: 2/2/1900 in Germantown, WI: Deathdate: 9/7/1984 in Appleton, WI
Studied, Layton School of Art, Milw. WI.
1939-1966- Commercial artist and photographer Appleton Post Crescent.


Andrew John Mueller

Born February 2, 1900 in Germantown, Wisconsin

Died September 7, 1984 in Appleton, Wisconsin

Andrew John Mueller, artist and photographer, was the youngest of five children of Barbara (Schoen) and John Mueller. His grandfather, Johann Müller and his great uncle Michael Müller had emigrated from the (Hunsrück) Rhineland region of Germany in the late 1840’s. 

In 1913 at the age of 13 Andrew had just finished eighth grade when his mother died. His father was in poor health so he dropped out of school and lived with relatives.  From 1913 – 1920 he worked as a farm laborer on the original Johann Müller homestead.   The experience of his teenage years as a farm laborer would be a major influence in his art and photography for the rest of his life.

While Andrew enjoyed farm work, he had creative and artistic talent. He bought his first small box camera at 18 and by age 21, he had saved $1,000 to go to the Layton School of Art in Milwaukee.  While going to Layton, he worked as an artist doing hand painting of glass lamp shades and also worked in the cabinet shop of Fred Garvens. It was while working for Fred Garvens that he met his wife, Coletta Woelfel.   They were married June 27, 1928 and had five children.

Andrew’s first professional job as an artist was with Hoard’s Dairyman in Fort Atkinson from 1928-1938.  At Hoard’s, he combined his love of farming with art and photography. He did pen and ink illustrations and photography of dairy cows.  In 1938 he took a job with Badger Printing of Appleton and within a short time a commercial art position opened up with the Appleton Post Crescent and he began work there.  Within a few years, at the start of World War II, Andrew took on the responsibilities of being the paper’s photographer as well as being in charge of the Art and Photography Department.  He remained with the Appleton Post Crescent until his retirement in 1966.   

Andrew’s newspaper art and photography work covered a broad range of activities from commercial art, to photographing fires, accidents, school events, parades as well as that of country life and Wisconsin landscapes for special feature editions and the farm section of the newspaper.  He created his own unique style with a sensitive eye toward the quiet and simple beauty of country life and nature.  He also did free lance photography and art as a second career. Over the years his free lance work ranged from making family portraits into personalized Christmas cards, to doing weddings, covers for magazines such as Wisconsin Tales and Trails and Better Camping, photographs for Brown and Bigelow and Wisconsin Historical Society calendars, feature photographs for the Milwaukee Journal and corporate work for the Aid Association for Lutherans, Lawrence University, the Institute of Paper Chemistry and Foremost Foods.

Using a large format Graflex Speed Graphic camera with a 4x5 inch negative, his photography was often time consuming and laborious, requiring  the use of a light meter to determine the F stop and shutter speed. He also needed to know the speed of the film he was using in order to capture the picture on the film. His craft extended into the darkroom where he often made multiple prints from the same negative with a purpose of bringing out a certain tone or effect. After a long and fulfilling life, Andrew died in Appleton at the age of 84, but his spirit lives on in the many photographs he left behind.

Selected Solo Exhibitions  :

2008        A Sense of Place: The Photographs of A.J. Mueller Museum of Wisconsin Art, West Bend,   Wisconsin                                  

© 9/9/2009 Museum of Wisconsin Art, West Bend, Wisconsin                    

Wisconsin Affiliations

No affiliations were found.

Wisconsin Art Organizations

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