Müller-Hofmann, Wilhelm

Wilhelm Müller-Hofmann


5 April 1885 Brünn / Brno – 2 September 1948 Vienna

Wilhelm Müller-Hofmann was born in Brünn / Brno and grew up in Bavaria. After graduating from the Gewerbliche Fortbildungsschule he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. In 1905/06 he completed military service for eighteen months in Bavaria, after which he was a freelance portrait painter, theatre painter and illustrator. He served throughout the First World War in the German army and was awarded the Eisernes Kreuz II. Klasse (Iron Cross Second Class) in 1916. In 1919 he was made a professor and was in charge of a painting course at the Wiener Kunstgewerbeschule (Vienna Arts and Crafts School). In November 1921 he divorced his first wife Eva Huch and received a dispensation to marry Hermine Zuckerkandl on 12 April 1922, while being ordered to continue to support his divorced first wife. Hermine Zuckerkandl was one of the three children of Otto Zuckerkandl, a consultant at the Rothschild Hospital in Vienna. Her father was Jewish and her mother had converted to Judaism when she married in 1895. The couple divorced in 1919. Hermine Zuckerkandl owned one-third of Purkersdorf sanatorium, which was no longer very profitable after the end of the Habsburg monarchy, but was worth a considerable amount as an investment. Viktor Carl, the first son of Hermine and Wilhelm Müller-Hofmann, was born on 24 May 1923, followed by Rudolf Immanuel on 12 February 1926. On 1 April 1928 Wilhelm Müller-Hofmann, who was in charge of the painting class, was appointed 'wirklicher Lehrer' (teacher on full pay) at the Arts and Crafts School in Vienna. When Austria was annexed to the German Reich, Hermine and Wilhelm Müller-Hofmann were persecuted as Jews by the Nazi regime. In spite of being Roman Catholic, Hermine Müller-Hofmann was regarded as a Jew under the Nuremberg Laws. Müller-Hofmann was suspended in March 1938 for belonging to a masonic lodge and for writing a satirical poem about Adolf Hitler and was forced into early retirement on 30 November 1938 by order of the Ministry of Internal and Cultural Affairs. After the family's emigration plans fell through, the parents sent their sons Viktor and Rudolf to Sweden in early 1939. As he could no longer practise his profession and only had a small pension as a source of income, Müller-Hofmann was forced to sell some of his property. He was not regarded as a Jew so was not subject to the restrictions of the Nazi regime. He also sold art objects for the Zuckerkandl family, including seven Japanese prints in January 1940 for 150 Reichsmarks to the Staatliches Kunstgewerbemuseum in Wien (State Arts and Crafts Museum in Vienna), now the MAK, belonging to Amalie Zuckerkandl. The couple moved back to friends in Upper Bavaria, where they lived with the latent threat of the Nazi regime hanging over them until 1945. On 18 October 1945 Wilhelm Müller-Hofmann took up his duties again at the College of Applied Arts, as it now was, in Vienna. The family's former apartment in Palais Augarten had been looted and requisitioned by the Soviet occupation force. In 1948 the family moved into an apartment in the Belvedere. Wilhelm Müller-Hofmann died on 2 September 1948, probably of angina pectoris, which he had contracted during the Nazi period.

On 28 September 2007 on the basis of a provenance research dossier in the MAK, the Art Restitution Advisory Board recommended the restitution of the seven Japanese prints to the heirs of Wilhelm Müller-Hofmann. The prints were handed over on 22 January 2009.

Author Info
Publications about the person / institution

Beschluss des Kunstrückgabebeirats, Prof. Wilhelm Müller-Hofmann, 28.9.2007, URL: www.provenienzforschung.gv.at/beiratsbeschluesse/Mueller-Hofmann_Wilhelm_2007-09-28.pdf (3.12.2020).

Ruth Pleyer, Was blieb, war kaum "das nackte Leben" – Gustav Klimts "Bildnis der Amalie Zuckerkandl", in: Verena Pawlowsky/Harald Wendelin (Hg.), Enteignete Kunst. Raub und Rückgabe – Österreich von 1938 bis heute, Wien 2006, 122–141.


MAK-Bibliotheksarchiv, Zl. 98-1939, Zl. 9-1940.

Universität für angewandte Kunst Wien, Kunstsammlung und Archiv, PA Wilhelm Müller-Hofmann.