06 January 2022

Landscape With A Tree Of Light: August Macke

"What I most cherish is the observation of the movement of colors." - August Macke

The image of a tree of light evokes thoughts of spring , two months away or almost a year in the past, depending on your January mood. August Macke's mood in his Landscape With A Tree Of Light is one of sun-bathed wonderment. There is an all-at-once quality in Macke's pictures that suggests an acquaintance with Italian Futurism. His painter friend Franz Marc characterized Macke's  special gift as "a brighter and purer sound to color than any of us; he gave it the clarity and brightness of his whole being."

August Macke (1887-1914) was born in Westphalia and died on the battlefield at Champagne during the second month of World War I. Although he was just twenty-seven, his artistic career was already  eight years, At his death, Macke had produced some 600 paintings. He had painted his first watercolor when he was fifteen. With his friend Franz Marc, the two founded Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider), a group of German Expressionist painters. 

Meeting Robert Delaunay was the pivotal artistic relationship in Macke's career; the older painter's chromatic Cubism altered Macke's use of colors. Nevertheless, Macke continued to portray scenes of everyday life, a subject matter he had learned earlier from the Impressionists. 

\Image - August Macke - Landschaft mit hellum Baum (Landscape With A Tree Of Light), 1914, watercolor overlaying pencil, State Museum, Berlin.


hels said...

There was such a magical era in German art, before it was shot to pieces in the WW1 trenches. I loved Macke and Marc, and now I wonder if Bauhaus was mourning their loss when the new group opened in 1919.

Jane said...

Hels, you make a good point. What seems to me to be missing in the Bauhaus works is Macke's sunny optimism, blown to smithereens.

Tania said...

I really like Macke’s painting & colors. Beautiful works at the Ludwig Museum in Cologne, if I remember correctly.

Jane said...

Tania, I looked it up and the Luduwig Museum does have Macke's work. You have a good memory.

Rouchswalwe said...

Ah, lieber August! My Opa Willi liked his work. I'm not sure where he saw it (perhaps at the St├Ądel in Frankfurt a/M?). Thank you for this!

Jane said...

Rouchswalwe, just when you think everything landscape has already been done, something wonderful like this turns up.