“A work of art is a parable, it is man’s thought, an autonomous idea of an artist, a song about the beauty of things: a work of art is the noble differentiated expression of man who is capable of something more than merely saying: ‘Isn’t that beautiful?’ “Auguste Macke.
Macke was born in Meschede on the Ruhr. From 1904 to 1905 he studied at the Academy and later with Ehmcke at the School for Arts and Crafts in Düsseldorf. Macke visited Paris for the first time in 1907. He returned a couple of years later and befriended Franz Marc, one of the founders of the ‘Blue Rider’, with Kandinsky, an influential movement intent on finding ways to express an artist’s ‘inner desire’.
Auguste Macke was to join this group with three of his paintings being included in the first exhibition and a number in the second. The group united such artists as Kandinsky, Klee, Picasso and Braque. The name of the movement was chosen because Marc and Kandinsky shared an appreciation for the colour blue and for horses. In 1912 Macke participated in the Sonderbund exhibition in Cologne and in 1913 spent eight months in Hilterfingen on the Lake of Thun in Switzerland. Then after travelling to Tunis with Klee and Moilliet, Macke was drafted into the army and died in action in September 1914.
Macke was interested in colour and composition and the way the two interact. His work is a synthesis of Impressionism, Fauvism and Orphism. His paintings are full of life and utterly free of the angst shown by other Expressionists. Inspired by the light of Tunisia, his final paintings are regarded by many as his finest. As well as painting, Macke made pottery, woodcarvings and a few prints. He also did a lot of design work for carpets, tapestries and wall-hangings, later executed by his wife.