The Blue Rider





After studying at the Düsseldorf Academy, August Macke (1887 – 1914) first traveled to Paris in 1907, where the encounter with Impressionism encouraged him to follow his penchant for sensual and brightly colorful renditions of reality. In 1909, at the young age of twenty-two, he married Elisabeth Gerhardt, the niece of the wealthy Berlin industrialist Bernhard Koehler; the couple initially lived on Lake Tegern for a year. In 1910, he met Franz Marc in Munich, and the two became close friends. Macke returned to Bonn in 1911, but thanks to his ties with Marc, he was a member of the inner circle of the Blue Rider, contributing to the almanac and participating in all exhibitions held by the group, even though he took a fairly critical view of the mystical and “spiritual” aspects of Kandinsky’s and Marc’s art: to his mind, painting was a creative transformation of nature, which he remade afresh in the picture out of units of luminous color. The thematic spectrum of his paintings always remained linked to his objects: portraits, still lifes, but also motifs of contemporary urban life such as people promenading at the zoo or window-shopping. In 1913, Macke moved to the shore of Lake Thun, Switzerland, for eight months. In April 1914, he, Paul Klee, and Louis Moilliet undertook their legendary trip to Tunis, from which he returned with a large number of watercolors. After the outbreak of World War I, he was drafted for military service; he was killed on the French front only weeks later.