AUGUST MACKE (1887-1914)
AUGUST MACKE (1887-1914)
AUGUST MACKE (1887-1914)
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This lot has been imported from outside of the UK … Read more PROPERTY FROM THE DEUTSCHE BANK COLLECTION
AUGUST MACKE (1887-1914)

Auf dem Friedhof von Thun

Details
AUGUST MACKE (1887-1914)
Auf dem Friedhof von Thun

watercolour and pencil on paper
9 5⁄8 x 12 3⁄8 in. (24.5 x 31.4 cm.)
Executed in Hilterfingen in 1914
Provenance
The artist’s estate (no. A115).
Stefan Pauson, Bamberg & Glasgow.
Washington Gallery [William Hardie], Glasgow, by whom acquired from the above.
Woodbridge Company Ltd., Toronto, by whom acquired from the above.
Galerie Wolfgang Wittrock, Dusseldorf, by whom acquired from the above in 1988.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1989.
Literature
G. Vriesen, August Macke, Stuttgart, 1957, no. 434, p. 296 (with incorrect provenance).
E. Pinder & G. Vriesen, Macke: Aquarelle-Ausstellung, exh. cat., Kunsthaus, Bielefeld, 1957, no. 434, p. 52 (with incorrect provenance).
Galerie Wolfgang Wittrock, ed., Gemälde, Aquarelle, Zeichnungen, Graphik: Künstler der Brücke und weitere Neuerwerbungen, exh. cat., Dusseldorf, 1988, no. 1 (illustrated on the cover).
U. Heiderich, August Macke: Aquarelle, Werkverzeichnis, Ostfildern, 1997, no. 469, p. 336 (illustrated p. 337; illustrated again p. 143 and with incorrect provenance).
Exhibited
Frankfurt, Kunstverein, August Macke, Gedächtnis-Ausstellung, May - June 1920, no. 22, n.p.; this exhibition later travelled to Wiesbaden, Neues Museum, July - October 1920.
Emden, Kunsthalle, August Macke:Gesang von der Schönheit der Dinge’: Aquarelle und Zeichnungen, November 1992 - February 1993, no. 127, pp. 191 & 288 (illustrated p. 191; image inverted); this exhibtion later travelled to Ulm, Ulmer Museum, February - April 1993; and Bonn, Kunstmuseum, May - July 1993.
Frankfurt, Schirn Kunsthalle, Auf Papier, Kunst des 20. Jahrhunderts aus der Deutschen Bank, March - April 1995, no. 117, p. 204 (illustrated p. 205; with incorrect provenance); this exhibition later travelled to Berlin, Berlinischen Galerie, Landesmuseum für Moderne Kunst, Photographie und Architektur, May - July 1995; and Leipzig, Museum der bildenden Künste, August- October 1995.
Munich, Westfälischen Landesmuseum, August Macke, die Aquarelle, November 1997 - February 1998; this exhibition later travelled to Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, August Macke, March - May 1998, no. 89, p. 218 (illustrated p. 219).
Special notice
This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.

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Keith Gill
Keith Gill Head of Department

Lot Essay


In October 1913 August Macke moved from Bonn to Hilterfingen, a village on Lake Thun in Switzerland, where he stayed until June the following year. This was the most productive period of his career: it was in Hilterfingen that the mature style of his late pictures evolved. Though his range of subjects remained limited, the watercolours painted in Hilterfingen of people strolling by the lake are among the finest in his entire œuvre. In her memoirs Macke’s wife, Elisabeth, described his park scenes: ‘Characterised by a loose, relaxed use of glowing colour, especially in the greens of the trees, the blue of the sky, and the patches of sunlight on the ground, which darken from the brightest yellow to the deepest reddish brown. In this atmosphere the outlines of the figures are soft, but not without contrast; there are no longer sharp contours, everything is in a state of flux, the colour is dematerialised, like melted enamel’ (quoted in H. Friedel and A. Hoberg, The Blue Rider in the Lenbachhaus, Munich, Munich, 2000, cat. 105, n. p.).

The use of colour to create a sense of life and movement is one of the most prominent features of Macke’s mature work. Although he had already learned a good deal about the depiction of time and movement from Futurism, the most important influence on his style during these years was his encounter with the work of Robert Delaunay, whose cityscapes and pictures of the Eiffel Tower he had seen in the first Blue Rider exhibition. What most interested August Macke at that time was the sense of dynamic energy conveyed not only by the formal organisation of space, but also by the play of colours. In 1913 Macke wrote: ‘The most important thing for me is the direct observation of nature in its light-filled existence […] What I most cherish is the observation of the movement of colours. It is only in this that I found the laws of those simultaneous and complementary colour contrasts that nourish the actual rhythm of my vision. In this I find the actual essence, an essence which is not born out of an a priori system or theory’ (quoted in, G. Vriesen, August Macke, Stuttgart, 1953, p. 120).

In Auf dem Friedhof in Thun the patchwork of green, blue and yellow foliage above the women’s heads do indeed have a rhythmic quality, causing the eye to flicker back and forth. Standing in a pool of light, the women appear protected and sheltered by the surrounding trees. Macke frequently uses the motif of the bridge or the promenade wall, with figures leaning over the parapet and staring at the water below.

In Auf dem Friedhof in Thun the elegantly dressed women are depicted in this pose, leaning over the stone wall of the bridge, high above the river Aare, which flows away from Lake Thun towards Bern. Warmth and tranquility are felt as the women take in the picturesque view of the lake with the snow crowned peaks of the Eiger and the Shreckhorn in the distance. In the foreground the tree trunks cast overlapping geometrical green and blue shadows checkered with patches of pink sunlight. Describing their period in Switzerland and the paintings it inspired, Elisabeth Macke commented on the lyrical aspect of her husband’s work: ‘In these small pictures, which shine like jewels, one sees an intense concentration… They are truly poetic visions of everyday life painted with unabashed joy and with a deep, fervent commitment’ (quoted in H. Friedel and A. Hoberg, op. cit., cat. 103, n. p.).

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