The authenticity of this work has kindly been confirmed by Dr Mario von Lüttichau.
The nude in the landscape is the central subject of Otto Mueller's work and derives essentially from the summer of 1911 when he made his first visit to the lakes at Moritzburg in the company of fellow Brücke artists Erich Heckel and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. There, living and painting together in nature, these artists together forged a group style founded on raw and spontaneously created images made in direct response to nature. While other Brücke artists applied the lessons they had learned in Moritzburg to develop their work into ever new and freer forms of expression of heightened colour and pure form, Mueller sought to refine what he had learned into a perfected vision of pure idealised form: 'My main aim' he said 'is to express my response to landscape and people with the utmost simplicity. My model was, and still is, the art of the ancient Egyptians, including its purely technical aspect' (Otto Mueller, quoted in Entartete Kunst Bildersturm vor 25 Jahren, exh. cat., Munich, 1926, n.p.).
Drawing on the reduced forms and simple, almost planar elements of so-called primitive sculpture and heightening the forms of nature into a jagged angular compositional rhythm that establishes echoes between the forms of the figure and those of the landscape, Mueller pursued a unique and integrated vision of Man and Nature in a state of formal harmony. His figures became increasingly refined and flattened so that they began to echo the flatness and linearity of ancient Egyptian figure painting - their near-two-dimensional pose establishing a compositional elegance often reiterated by the forms of the landscape into which they were set.
This persuasive sense of timelessness was something that was reinforced in Mueller's oeuvre by the artist's practice of very rarely dating his work and of making no record of their chronology. However, Zwei Akte im Wald is thought to date from the period between 1919 and 1930, when Mueller was Professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Breslau, and where it seems likely that the original owner, Dr. Paul Hahn, acquired it.