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August Macke

09.11.2010 to 13.03.2011

Neue Nationalgalerie
Neue Nationalgalerie

As part of the 'Cabinet in the Gallery' series of exhibitions, the Kupferstichkabinett (Museum of Prints and Drawings) will present in the New National Gallery some 34 drawings and watercolours by the Rhineland-born Expressionist, August Macke.

As an artist, Macke was on cordial terms and had regular contact with the Blauer Reiter group. Due to his early death in the war, however, his creative period was limited to roughly a decade. He came to establish a pictorial language of his own after having successively explored various modern art styles, from Impressionism through to Fauvism, cubism, futurism and finally the Orphism or 'Orphic cubism' of Robert Delaunay. What fascinated him in Delaunay's work was the picture's dynamic structuring through the use of vivid contrasts of colour and form that corresponded to his own vitalistic view of life.

A decisive impulse for the use of pure, radiant colours was provided during Macke's journey to Tunisia that he undertook with Paul Klee and Louis Moilliet in the spring of 1914. Of the many watercolours that were created from that time, which figure among the best in his oeuvre as a whole, three are to go on display here, alongside other pictures that originated as a result of Macke's visit to the Alps. Also on show are several drawings and watercolours addressing the themes of 'Man and Nature', 'Man and City' and 'Man and Animals'.

In 1921, a total of 57 drawings and watercolours from Macke's estate found their way into the Nationalgalerie's collection of drawings, partly in the form of acquisitions and partly as a donation from his widow. Of these, eleven were confiscated in 1937 for being 'degenerate'. The collection of drawings was later handed over to the Kupferstichkabinett in 1991. Today, the Kupferstichkabinett's collection of Macke's works comprises 49 drawings and watercolours.

The intimate, one-room show 'August Macke. 1887-1914' forms part of the larger exhibition 'Modern Times. The Collection. 1900 - 1945. New National Gallery', held at Kulturforum.