Otto Mueller is known as the romantic among the ‘Brücke’ painters. Throughout his life he confined himself to a small repertoire of nudes, gypsy paintings and portraits in his search for the simple and primordial. Instead of idealism, this showed a great sensibility for the art market. ‘Adam and Eve’ is one of many paintings of lovers. However, the depiction of man and nature is not nearly as primordial as one is lead to believe: in the knowledge of her nakedness, Eve is covering her pudenda, and steps out of paradise with Adam as if it were a cathedral.
This present arrived from Switzerland in 1950. The biochemist Arthur Stoll (1887–1971), who lived in Basel, quietly and unassumingly offered the painting as a gift, with “the intention of supporting the rebuilding of your collection of modern art a little”. This part of the museum collection had been dismantled by confiscation of ‘degenerate art’ in 1937. Seventy-seven paintings were removed from the museum on orders from Berlin. By the end of National Socialist rule, modern art was hardly represented in Frankfurt – a situation that applied to many German museums.