Lot 49
  • 49

August Macke

1,200,000 - 1,800,000 USD
2,210,500 USD
bidding is closed


  • August Macke
  • Rokoko
  • Signed August Macke and dated 1912 on the reverse
  • Oil on canvas


Dr. Storck, Mannheim (1912)

Galerie Fides, Dresden

Rudolf Probst, Mannheim (1937 until at least 1958)

Joachim Probst, Mannheim (1989)

Thomas Ammann Fine Art, Zürich

Acquired from the above by the present owner


Cologne, Städtische Ausstellungshalle, Internationale Kunstausstellung des Sonderbundes Westdeutscher Kunstfreunde und Künstler zu Köln,1912, no. 444

Cologne, Kölnischer Kunstverein, Das junge Rheinland, 1918

Hannover, Kestner-Gesellschaft, XVI. Sonderausstellung August Macke - Heinrich Nauen, 1918, no. 12, illustrated in the catalogue

Bonn, Städtisches Museum Villa Obernier, August Macke, 1918

Frankfurt, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Gedäachtnis-Ausstellung August Macke, 1920, no. 26

Halle, Kunstverein, 1921

Venice, Esposizione d'arte, Città de Venezia, 1928, no. 1211

The Hague, 'S Gravenhage, Dienst Voor Schone Kunsten, 1953-54, no. 21

Münster, Westfälisches Landesmuseum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte, August Macke - Gedenkausstellung zum 70. Geburtstag, 1957, no. 55

Munich, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, August Macke, 1962, no. 107

Mannheim, Städtische Kunsthalle, 1977-2000 (on long-term loan)

Verona, Galleria d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Palazzo Forti, Da Van Gogh a Schiele, L'Europa espressionista 1880-1918, 1989, illustrated in color in the catalogue


Walter Cohen, Junge Kunst, vol. 32, Leipzig, 1922, illustrated

Gustav Vriesen, August Macke, Stuttgart, 1953, no. 341, illustrated p. 213 (incorrectly catalogued as signed and dated on the front)

Gustav Vriesen, August Macke, Stuttgart, 1957, no. 341, illustrated p. 213

Donald E. Gordon, Modern Art Exhibitions, 1900-1916, Munich, 1974, vol. II, no. 444, illustrated p. 591

Magdalena M. Moeller, August Macke, Cologne, 1988, fig. 33, illustrated p. 37

Ursula Heiderich, August Macke, Die Skizzenbucher, Stuttgart, 1987, vol. I, illustrated in color p. 106 and illustrated p. 105

Verein August Macke Haus, August Macke, Biographie, Bonn, 1992 & 1996, illustrated p. 58

Ursula Heidenrich, August Macke, Aquarelle, Werkverzeichnis, Ostfildern-Ruit, 1997, discussed p. 27

Ursula Heidenrich, "August Macke und die frühe Moderne in Europa" in August Macke und die frühe Moderne in Europa (exhibition catalogue), Westfälisches Landesmuseum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte, Münster & Kunstmuseum, Bonn 2001-02, fig. 4, illustrated in color p. 188 and 191

Ursula Heidenrich, August Macke, Gëmalde, Werkverzeichnis, Ostfildern, 2008, no. 430, illustrated p. 445 and in color p. 207

Catalogue Note

Macke's extraordinary Rokoko exemplifies the aesthetic of German Expressionist landscape painting at its most daring.   Macke, along with fellow avant-garde painters Kandinsky and Marc, were proponents of an emotive style of painting, free from historical associations or academic dictates.  Calling themselves "The Savages of Germany" in their artistic journal, The Blaue Reiter Almanac, Macke and his colleagues took up the mantle of the Fauves, who had also been proponents of wildly colorful and expressive renderings of the natural world a decade earlier.   But unlike his French predecessors, Macke composes this vivid picture with bold color blocks that are offset by sharp outlines of lustrous black oil.  As was the case for many of the German Expressionists, Macke's paintings also evidence an appreciation for tribal art and the linear elegance of west African carvings. The influence of African art is apparent in the present picture, particularly in Macke's stylized rendition of the elongated forms of the animals. 

Painted in Bonn in 1912, just as war broke out across Europe, the elaborate and halcyon scene depicted in Rokoko gives no indication of the rising tensions sweeping across the artist's homeland.  Macke completed three sketches related to this composition the prior October, but it is clear that the shepherd depicted in this work relates to Kandinky's composition Pastorale, 1911, now in the collection of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York.

The same year that he finished the present work, Macke published his ideas about aesthetic and the universality of art in the Blaue Reiter almanac.  In the following excerpt, he makes the case that art is essentially the materialization of the otherwise ineffable and the means by which we come to terms with the overwhelming sensations and emotions of life:  "What we hang on the wall as a painting is basically similar to the carved and painted pillars in an African hut.  The African considers his idol the comprehensible form for an incomprehensible idea, the personification of an abstract concept.  For us the painting is the comprehensible form for the obscure, incomprehensible conception of a deceased person, of an animal, of a plant of the whole magic of nature, of the rhythmical....The joys, the sorrows of man,k of nations, lie behind the inscriptions, paintings, temples, cathedrals, and masks, behind the musical compositions, stage spectacles, and dances.  If they are not there, if form becomes empty and groundless, then there is no art." (A. Macke, "Masks," 1912, reprinted in C. Harrison & P. Wood, Art in Theory, 1900-1990, Oxford & Cambridge, 1992, p. 101.)

The subject of the present work is an unusual Expressionist reworking of the dominant aesthetic of the mid-18th century.  Rococo was a style that was popularized by Watteau and Boucher, who depicted fêtes galantes, or highly stylized scenes of figures in landscape.  Macke skillfully recreates that motif in the present work, but with a decidedly 20th century interpretation.