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Blue Rider – The Life and Work of August Macke

August Macke

August Macke was born in the town of Meschede, in the North Rhine-Westphalia region of Germany. You can visit his hometown from any Dusseldorf trade show hotel.

August Macke’s short and tragic life spanned a time in Europe when the world of art was in a constant state of upheaval and change. The early twentieth century saw the arrival of Impressionism, primarily from France and its many extensions, elaborations and counter movements, including Fauvism, Cubism, Orphism, Futurism, Surrealism, Dada, Expressionism – Germany’s major artistic movement in modern history, as well as the subsequent birth of Abstraction. Macke was a true artist and revolutionary of the times and so took from the various trends what he liked, in order to constantly be in the frontline of the avant-garde.

Macke began to travel frequently, in Europe and later further afield, painting constantly and taking in new artistic influences as he went. His first major trip was to Paris, where he discovered Impressionist artwork for the first time. He began to develop a style part impressionist, part post-impressionist. Later he travelled to Berlin, where he spent time learning at the studio of prominent German artist, Lovis Corinth.
He went on to befriend Franz Marc, one of the early pioneers in abstract art, and, through him, the Russian born artist, Wassily Kandinsky.

They went on to found the second wave of the German Expressionist movement, named Der Blaue Reiter (‘The Blue Rider’) after the journal they contributed to during the early 1910s. In the Paris of 1912, Macke met Robert Delauney and learnt his unique style of Cubism, coined Orphism, as well as Fauvist tendencies. From travels in Italy, he also began to be influenced by Italian Futurism.

Macke became close friends with artists Louis Moilliet and Paul Klee, with whom he travelled to Tunisia in 1914. Klee went on to become a professor at the prestigious Kunstakademie Dusseldorf, where much of Macke’s work can be seen, close to many Dusseldorf trade show hotels.

Macke died later that year, aged 27, but left a lasting legacy.

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