Thursday, August 10, 2017

August Macke: Restrained Modernist

August Macke (1887-1914) was a modernist painter and founding member of the short-lived Blue Rider (Der Blaue Reiter) group of painters. His Wikipedia entry is here, and an assessment of his life and work is here.

It is impossible to be sure what stylistic path Macke would have followed had he lived a normal life span, because he died age 27 in combat as the Western Front was forming in the aftermath of Germany's defeat in the Battle of the Marne.

As the title of this post indicates, my take on Macke is that he had too much regard for real world appearances to get fully sucked into the modernist "isms" of the early 20th century. Whether this restraint would have continued beyond 1914 is anyone's guess. My opinion is that he was one of the most likable modernist German painters of his time.


August Macke and Elisabeth Gerhard in Bonn, 1908
Macke appears to be wearing his army uniform, which dates this photo in October 1908 or later, as that was the month he began his required service. Elisabeth, who he married in 1910, is the subject of three images below.

Self-Portrait - 1909

Elisabeth Gerhard - 1909

Portrait with Apples (Elisabeth Gerhard) - 1909

Elisabeth Reading
A more modernist version of Elisabeth but, as usual, a restrained Modernism.

Ansicht vom Tegernsee - 1910
A landscape without Fauvist coloring.

Marienkirche mit Häusern und Schornstein - 1911
A scene in Bonn.

Indians on Horses
A painting from Macke's imagination. Wild West adventure stories were popular in Wilhelmine Germany.

Colored Forms III - 1913
He experimented with Orphist abstractions, a new art fashion at the time.

Lady in Green Jacket - 1913
Colors here are more poster-like than Fauvist.

Gro├čes helles Schaufenster - 1912
"Large, Bright Display Window" is my English title to this watercolor that includes some Cubist elements. The female figure is not Cubist, as Macke seemed reluctant to depart far from that reality.

Hat Shop - 1914
Another in a series showing women shopping for clothing and fashion articles.

1 comment:

Hels said...

Lady in Green Jacket (1913) and Hat Shop (1914) were the two Macke images I have seen most often, presumably because posters and magazines were becoming increasingly involved in the booming women's fashion industry.

I have never seen the 1909 portrait of Elisabeth Gerhard before, but this was the earlier, more impressive painting. So thank you.