August Macke was born on 3 January 1887 as son of the engineer August Friedrich Macke and his wife Maria Florentine in Meschede, Westphalia. He counts as one of the most important representatives of German Expressionism. His unmistakable style is characterised by the effect of light and the use of bright, harmonious colours. In his paintings Macke preferred to portray people in daily scenes. His works were significant for contemporary modern art of painting in terms of image design and colouring.
Macke studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Düsseldorf from 1904-1906 and at the local School of Arts and Crafts. While studying, he designs stage sets and costumes for the Düsseldorf Schauspielhaus. In 1907, Macke traveled for the first time to Paris, where he became introduced to French Impressionism. After his return to Germany, he visited the painting school of Lovis Corinth in Berlin until 1908. A year later he married Elisabeth Gerhardt, the niece of the wealthy Berlin industrialist and patron of the arts Bernhard Koehler, and moved with her to the Tegernsee. After returning from another trip to Paris, the influence of the "Fauves" ("the savages") is reflected in a generous picture structure with clearly juxtaposed forms and intense colors. He takes part in the second exhibition of the "Neue Münchener Künstlervereinigung", directed by Wassily Kandinsky. In 1910 he met Franz Marc and a long-standing friendship began. When Macke returned to Bonn in 1911, the two artists began an extensive correspondence. Although August Macke was not in Munich, thanks to Marc's ties he belonged to the close circle of the 'Blauer Reiter' and was represented with three works at the first exhibition at the Thannhauser Gallery in Munich in 1911. In 1912 he participated in the almanac of the "Blauer Reiter" with the texts "Die Masken" and a reproduction of his painting "Sturm". Yet Macke was always fairly critical of the spiritual aspects of Kandinsky and Marc's understanding of art. As motifs of his paintings always remained linked to the figurative, such as portraits, still lifes and street scenes. On a trip to Paris he met Robert Delaunay, whose acquaintance led to the adoption of futuristic and cubist elements in his works. Macke participates in the "Sonderbundausstellung" in Cologne and in 1913 he takes part in the "Erster Deutscher Herbstsalon" of Herwarth Walden (1878-1941) in Berlin. Macke also organized the exhibition "Rheinischer Expressionisten" in Bonn. 1913 he moves to Lake Thun (Switzerland), where he creates pictures of groups of figures in the landscape. His work now contains sharp edges and pointed forms which remind of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. In 1914 he travels to Tunis with Paul Klee and Louis Moilliet. After the outbreak of World War I, August Macke was killed in action south of Perthes-lès-Hurlus in Champagne on 26 September 1914.