Painter. A leader of the German art movement "Der Blaue Reiter" ("The Blue Rider"). Although he is usually labeled an Expressionist, his style and subject matter had more in common with French creative trends. Macke portrayed scenes from everyday life with harmonious semi-abstract compositions, using a unique sense of color relationships to achieve depth and balance. His close friend, fellow "Blue Rider" painter Franz Marc, said he was "the one who gave colors the brightest and purest tone of us all". Macke was born in Meschede, Germany, and raised in Bonn and Cologne. He attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Dusseldorf from 1906 to 1908 but was far more stimulated by several trips to Paris, where he absorbed the works of the Impressionists, Fauvists and Cubists. In 1911 he co-founded "The Blue Rider" with Marc, Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee, and he was prominently featured in the First German Fall Salon in Berlin (1913), the largest exhibition of European avant-garde art ever held in Germany up to that time. In 1914 he visited Tunisia with Klee and produced a series of brilliant watercolors that marked the emergence of his artistic maturity - one that would be tragically short-lived. Conscripted into the German Army at the start of World War I, he was sent to the Champagne front and almost immediately killed in action. He was 27. His final painting, now called "Farewell" (1914), seems in hindsight a premonition; the colors are atypically dark, the human figures pensive, removed. A cenotaph for Macke was dedicated in Bonn's Alter Friedhof in 1991.
Bio by: Bobb Edwards
Elisabeth Gerhardt Erdmann-Macke
1888–1978 (m. 1909)