German artist August Macke was born on January 1887 and became the leading names of Der Blaue Reiter, an Expressionist group called The Blue Rider in English. Macke was born in Northwestern Germany, in the town of Meshede, Westphalia, but his family would soon settle in Cologne. His father, August Friedrich Hermann Macke, worked as a building contractor and was an artist in his free time, and his mother, Maria Florentine, came from a farming family. Macke had no siblings, and his first impressionable contact with art was through his father’s art. The artist began to study at the Kreuzgymnasium in 1897, where he met fellow future painter, Hans Thuar, whose father had a collection of Japanese woodcut prints. These Oriental artworks inspired Macke and many other artists of his time, giving a different perspective on how to create art. The Symbolist painter Arnold Bocklin was also an early influence on Macke’s aesthetic after he saw Bocklin’s work on a trip to Basel in 1900. At the age of thirteen, Macke enrolled at the Realgymnasium in Bonn, where he met his future brother-in-law, Walter Gerhardt. Elisabeth Gerhardt and the German artist married in 1909.
In 1904, after his father's passing, Macke began studying painting under Adolf Maennchen at the Dusseldorf Art Academy, where he continued for the next two years, also taking lessons from Fritz Helmut Ehmke. The artist also delved in theater by working with costume and stage design, as well as taking the opportunity to travel and see the work of other artists in places like the Netherlands, Belgium, Britain, and northern Italy. This was a prosperous period for German art, as the Expressionism was rising like many other movements that were developing all over Europe and reaching Germany. Macke’s work translates his domain of Modern art, as he was able to use the elements of these avant-guard movements to create his unique and authentic masterpieces. He continued living in Bonn but continued traveling to expand his knowledge of art. Around 1907, Macke traveled to Berlin and stayed for a couple of months in the art studio of Lovis Corinth. Afterward, he took his first trip to Paris where he came in contact with the Modern paintings of the Impressionists, which impacted his production. The artist would go through other periods like Post-Impressionism and Fauvism.
In 1910, Macke met the Russian painter Kandinsky through his friend Franz Marc. The three shared similar views on paintings and art, creating the group Der Blaue Reiter - in rejection of the strict rules and traditions of Kandinsky’s earlier group Künstlervereinigung München. The year 1912 represented Macke's turning point, as he was deeply impacted by the chromatic Cubism of Robert Delaunay, influencing his production. In 1914, along with friends and fellow artists Louis Moilliet and Paul Klee, Macke traveled to Tunisia, an exotic location which gave him inspiration for a series of masterpieces with a more luminist view. Sadly, the artist’s life was interrupted at the early age of 27, when he died in battle during the First World War in France, in September 1914. His last painting entitled Farewell portrays the sorrow brought by the war.