August Macke (1887-1914)
August Macke (1887-1914)
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These lots have been imported from outside the EU … Read more PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTOR
August Macke (1887-1914)

Lesende Frau

August Macke (1887-1914)
Lesende Frau
with the Nachlass stamp (Lugt 1775b; on the reverse)

oil on board
20 3/4 x 16 1/2 in. (52.8 x 41.8 cm.)
Painted 1913
Private collection, by 1957.
Anonymous sale, Stuttgarter Kunstkabinett Roman Norbert Ketterer, 3-4 May 1962, lot 261.
Leonard Hutton Galleries, New York, by 1962.
Anonymous sale, Dr. Ernst Hauswedell, Hamburg, 5 June 1971, lot 388.
Josefowitz collection, Geneva, by 1984.
Acquired from the above, and thence by descent to the present owners.

G. Vriesen, August Macke, Stuttgart, 1953, no. 388.
G. Vriesen, August Macke, Stuttgart, 1957, no. 388 (illustrated p. 329).
Exh. cat., August Macke: Blickfänge in und um sein Bonner Haus, Bonn, 2001, no. 93, p. 170 (illustrated p. 171)
U. Heiderich, August Macke, Gemälde Werkverzeichnis, Ostfildern, 2008, no. 465, p. 458 (illustrated p. 459).
Münster, Westfa¨lischer Kunstverein, Westfa¨lische Wilhelms-Universita¨t, Westfa¨lisches Landesmuseum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte, August Macke, Gedenkausstellung zum 70. Geburtstag, January - March 1957, no. 65, p. 87
New York, Leonard Hutton Galleries, Fauves and Expressionists, 1962, no. 261 (illustrated).
New York, Leonard Hutton Galleries, Fauves and Expressionists, April - June 1968, no. 62 (illustrated p. 47).

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Ishbel Gray
Ishbel Gray

Lot Essay

Lesend Frau is an example of Macke's own idea of Expressionism. One in stark contrast to that of Grosz or Beckmann's tragedies of war, or the Brüke group's scenes of debauched Berlin dance halls, or even his close friend Franz Marc's Garden of Eden, devoid of man or woman. Macke painted what he knew. The ladies strolling in the avenues with men in straw boaters, children playing outdoors, and his own wife, at their kitchen table. This touching portrait of Macke's wife Elisabeth was executed in 1913, just four years into their married life and only one year before his untimely death in the second month of The Great War.

Elisabeth was a constant source of inspiration to Macke. Volkers Adolphs writes about the portraits of Elisabeth: "Zu Elisabeth hatte Macke die innigste und tiefste Bindung seines Lebens. Die emotionale Náhe war ein wichtiger Antrieb fr seine Kunst.[...] Mackes Porträts von Elisabeth [sind] eines tiefen Einverständnisses und Vertrauen und einer zugleich zurckhaltenden Annäherung (V. Adolphs, "Elisabeth", August Macke, Gesang von der Schönheit der Dinge, Aquarelle und Zeichninigen, Cologne, 1992 p. 22-3).

The addition here of a large white shawl, curving around Elisabeth's shoulders adds a swirling sense of movement among the bold blocks of colour which make up the background. Macke's time spent with Delaunay in Paris the year before had a strong influence on the artist from this period onwards. His colours became more rhythmic and structured and the illusion of space, still evident in earlier works such as Elisabeth am Schreibtisch of 1911 (right) is replaced by primary blocks of pure colour in dominant two dimensional areas.

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