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June 25, 2011

August Macke

August Macke was one of the leading members of the German Expressionists called The Blue Rider). He was born in Meschtede, Germany, but he spent his childhood in Cologne and in Bonn before moving to Düsseldorf to study art. He began to make frequent visits to Paris in 1907, and it was here that he first had contact with the Cubists. Between 1909 and 1910, Macke met Marc and Kadinsky in Munich and worked with them. Macke, like Marc, was enthusiastic about the work of the French Cubist Robert Delaunay. Macke's artistic interests were directed towards gentle figurations of women and children. He painted his subjects in domestic, interior and exterior poses, usually, by applying his bright, warm color in large, strongly outlined areas, and sometimes using varicolored squares for bright light in his backgrounds, in the manner of Delaunay. Macke's career was cut short by his early death at the front in Champagne in September of 1914, the second month of the First World War. His final painting was titled Farewell, and it depicts the mood of gloom that settled after the outbreak of war.

Macke detailed the horrors of war. The Tao Te Ching tells us that the best soldier is not violent. This is true, but sometimes soldiers are put into situations where violence touches them. Macke was an innocent victim of the all too familiar refrain of war; the poor man fighting the rich man’s wars.