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August Macke: Feelings and Moods

August Macke - Lady in a Park - 1914 - Oil on canvas - 38 1/2 x 23 1/4" (97.8 x 58.9 cm) - MoMA, New York (click photo for larger image)German Expressionist painter August Macke (1887-1914) was a member of Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) organization of artists, based in Germany, that contributed greatly to the development of abstract art. He lived most of his creative life in Bonn, with the exception of a few periods spent in Switzerland and various trips to Paris, Italy, the Netherlands and Tunisia. His style was formed within the mode of French Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, and he later went through a Fauve period, which greatly influenced him throughout his life. In 1909, through fellow artist Franz Marc, he met Wassily Kandinsky—both featured elsewhere on this site. For a time, Macke shared the non-objective aesthetic and the mystical and symbolic interests of Der Blaue Reiter.

Macke's meeting with Robert Delaunay (also discussed on this site) in Paris in 1912 was something of an epiphany for him. Delaunay's chromatic Cubism (labeled Orphism) influenced Macke's art from that point forward. The exotic atmosphere of Tunisia, where Macke traveled in April 1914 was also fundamental to the luminist approach of Macke’s final period, during which he produced a series of works now considered masterpieces. His later works focus primarily on representing emotions and moods, in part through a distortion of color and form. The influence of Fauvism remains evident throughout his oeuvre—as you will observe in the work featured here. 

Sadly, Macke died at the front during WWI—an artist lost far too soon.

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