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August Macke, Woman in Front of a Hat Shop (c. 1914)

Along with Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944), Franz Marc (1880-1916), Gabriele Münter (1877-1962), and others, the Expressionist painter August Macke (1887-1914) belonged to the artists’ group Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider), which was founded in 1911. Unlike Kandinsky and Marc, however, Macke chose to root his painting firmly in the representational. Moreover, the influence of the French Impressionists early on had sparked his interest in street scenes and the depiction of modern urban life. The watercolor shown here, which features a woman in front of a fashionable hat shop, incorporates the popular motif of the shop window. At the time, the shop window was regarded as a “reflection” of city life, in that it signified the growing availability of consumer goods and the rise of a stylish, image-conscious society. In her modern clothing, Macke’s female figure likewise appears as an integral part of urban life.

August Macke was drafted into military service in August 1914; he was killed on September 26, 1914 in the Champagne region. Franz Marc was also killed in the war.

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August Macke, <i>Woman in Front of a Hat Shop</i> (c. 1914)

© Bildarchiv Preußischer Kulturbesitz / Kupferstichkabinett, SMB / Jörg P. Anders
Original: Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin