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Biographical/Historical Information

Otto Möller was born July 20, 1883 in the Thuringian village Schmiedefeld. After graduating school in 1903 he moved to Berlin. Between 1905 and 1907 he attended the Königliche Kunstschule, where he took an apprenticeship as a drawing teacher working under Philipp Franck. From 1907 to 1908 he gained experience at the atelier of Lovis Corinth, who had a profound influence on him. Shortly after he had completed his studies under Corinth, he started working as a drawing teacher at Berlin Paulsen-Realgymnasium in Berlin-Steglitz. Then, in 1910, he showed his work for the first time at the Berlin Secession. In 1913 he married his classmate Erna Minna Juliana Senkbeil, and they had two children. After World War I, in which he served as a German soldier, he became a member of the Novembergruppe, a group of German expressionist artists and architects formed in Berlin in 1918. In the following years he showed his work frequently at the Novembergruppe exhibitions. Between 1920 and 1940 he was an Associate Professor of Education and its Methodologies at Zentralinstitut für Unterricht und Erziehung in Berlin, contributing to the reforms of art education. With the beginning of the Nazi rule in 193,3 Moeller stopped his exhibition activities. Seized as "degenerate art" in 1937, at least one of his works, a “Seestück” then held at Kiel Kunsthalle, was destroyed. In 1946, he became a Professor of Painting and Drawing at Berlin Hochschule für Bildende Künste (today: University of the Arts). In the following years, he published several writings, which reflect the effort he put into an increased appreciation of children's drawings. Otto Möller retired in 1955 and died in Berlin on 29 February, 1964.

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Möller, Otto: Boys in a schoolyard, Leo Baeck Institute, 78.543.