August Macke

August Macke was born in Meschede, Germany, and during his childhood he spent time in Basle where he came into contact with the work of Böcklin. He was taught by Corinth, and travelled widely throughout Europe. He married the beautiful Elisabeth Gerhardt in 1909.

He met Franz Marc in 1910 in Munich, and with him established the Blaue Reiter the following year. In 1912 they both journeyed to Paris, where they discovered Cubism and the work of Delaunay.

In 1914 he visited North Africa with Paul Klee. He was killed in battle, at the age of 27, that same year.

His early Impressionist style developed into a use of strong, sunlit color applied in painterly facets of light. His preferred subject matter remained urban scenes of shopping and leisure. His North African work had a more structured appearance, and in 1913 he experimented with pure abstraction and also produced many watercolors.

I, personally, cannot help but wonder how his style would have matured had he lived past his 27th year. Upon his death, Marc, who was later to also be killed in the war, wrote him this obituary:

August Macke- "Young Macke"- is dead. Those who have followed the course of German art during these last, eventful years, those who sensed what the future held in store for the development of that art, also knew Macke. And those of us who worked with him- we, his friends, we knew what promise this man of genius secretly bore in him.
His life described one of the boldest and most beautiful curves in the development of German art; and with his death that curve has been rudely broken. There is not one among us who can take it further. Each of us goes his own way; wherever our paths meet, we shall feel his absence.
We Painters know that without his harmonies whole octaves of color will disappear from German art, and the sounds of the colors remaining will become duller and sharper. He gave a brighter and purer sound to color than any of us; he gave it the clarity and brightness of his whole being.


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