Blue Girl Reading by August Macke - 1914 private collection Blue Girl Reading by August Macke - 1914 private collection

Blue Girl Reading

oil on canvas •
  • August Macke - 3 January 1887 - 26 September 1914 August Macke 1914

August Macke (1887-1914) was born in Germany to working class parents. Although his father was a building contractor, they both shared a love for painting. In 1907 Macke traveled to Paris where he saw the work of the Impressionists; he began painting in this style as well as creating Post-Impressionist works.

Macke was friends with Franz Marc and through him met Kandinsky; they formed the Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) movement, which contributed greatly to Abstract art. Macke was also greatly influenced by Robert Delaunay’s Chromatic Cubism, which lead to Macke painting in the Expressionist style for which he became best known. Later in his career he also embraced Fauvism. 

Blue Girl Reading (1914) was painted with elements of Expressionism and the Fauvism style. The painting shows his wife, Elisabeth, deeply engaged in reading a book. The painting uses bright color and bold shape to evoke emotion and set a mood rather than showing objective reality. The color blue dominates the painting, creating a melancholy effect and almost sombre mood. The bright colored fruit and tablecloth design add to the overall stylistic effect of the simple, solitary act of reading.

As a young artist, August Macke had already created an impressive body of work, over 400 paintings, proving his enormous talent and making way for a career of great potential. His final painting was called Farewell perhaps foreshadowing his untimely death at age 27; he was killed in combat on the battlefields of World War I.

- Heidi Werber