August Macke (1887-1914)
August Macke (1887-1914)


August Macke (1887-1914)
with Nachlass stamp and bears inscription and date (on the reverse)
watercolor and colored wax crayons on paper
10¾ x 12 7/8 in. (27.4 x 32.7 cm.)
executed in 1913
Estate of the artist.
Bernhard Köhler, Berlin.
Günther Franke, Munich (1938).
Anon. sale, Hauswedell und Nolte, Hamburg, 10 June 1972, lot 1429 (with incorrect provenance).
Anon. sale, Ketterer Kunst, Munich, 11 June 1996, lot 17 (with incorrect provenance).
Private collection (acquired at the above sale); sale, Sotheby's, London, 2 July 1998, lot 8.
Jan Krugier, acquired at the above sale.
G. Vriesen, Auguste Macke, Stuttgart, 1957, p. 291, no. 346 (with incorrect provenance).
U. Heiderich, August Macke, Aquarelle Werkeverzeichnis, Stuttgart, 1997, p. 324, no. 410 (illustrated in color, p. 132; illustrated again, p. 325; with incorrect provenance).
P. Rylands, The Timeless Eye: Master Drawings from the Jan and Marie Anne Krugier-Poniatowski Collection, Berlin, 1999, Catalogue raisonné, p. 409 (illustrated).
Bielefeld, Städtisches Kunsthhaus, Macke: Aquarelle-Ausstellung 1957, no. 346.
Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin-Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Linie, Licht und Schatten: Meisterzeichnungen und Skulpturen der Sammlung Jan und Marie Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, May-August 1999, p. 316, no. 150 (illustrated in color, p. 317).

Lot Essay

In 1912, the twenty-five year-old Macke saw the pivotal Italian Futurist exhibition organized by Herwarth Walden at Galerie der Sturm in Berlin. The impact of this exhibition on the German avant-garde and Der Blaue Reiter in particular was phenomenal. The young Germans were confronted by paintings which were quintessentially different to the more conformist impressionist pictures of Max Liebermann and Lovis Corinth, and even more explosive than the Dangast pictures of Die Brücke. Here were complex, intellectual pictures filled with radiant lines, color, movement and a completely new language of two dimensional space. Notable Futurist pictures in the Sturm exhibition included Umberto Boccioni's Visioni Simultanea (Balla, no. 423), in the Niedersächsisches Landesmuseum, Hannover, and Carlo Carrá's I Funerali Dell'Anarchico Galli (C. 8 11) in the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Shortly afterwards, in late 1912, Macke and Franz Marc visited Robert Delaunay in Paris. Delaunay's work was already familiar to them as were his avant-garde theories regarding pictorial composition and the new language of "Orphism." From the Futurists Macke and Marc learned the importance of dramatic light effects and the way to convey movement in two-dimensions.

In the present work, Macke adapted his painting method to accommodate the subtleties of painting in watercolor, devising a feathering technique of applying paint which at once gave extraordinary surface and subtlety to the sheet. Moreover, as we see here in Gartencafé, he began to use a combination of hot and very pure colors to fill his works with strong contrasts and a radiance surpassing even the bravest experiments of Delaunay. On the 4th August 1914 the First World War broke out and Macke was drafted into the German army. On the 26th September he fell at Perthe-les-Hurles in Champagne, leaving the works of the summer of 1914 as his last major series of paintings.

The present watercolor was the final study for a tapestry that was created for the collector Bernhard Köhler, whose niece, Elisabeth, was married to Macke.

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