Lot 73
  • 73

August Macke

800,000 - 1,200,000 USD
905,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • August Macke
  • Drei nackte Mädchen Rot und Orange (Three Nudes, Orange and Red)
  • Signed August Macke titled and dated 1912 on the reverse
  • Oil on canvas
  • 51.2 by 36 1/8 in.
  • 130 by 92 cm


Elisabeth Erdmann-Macke, Berlin (wife of the artist)

Macke heirs (by descent from the above until at least 1966)

Sale: Wolfgang Ketterer, Munich, May 20-21, 1969, lot 850

Herbert A. Kende, New York

Leonard Hutton Gallery, New York

Arnold A. Saltzmann, New York

Gérard de Francony, Nice (1991)

Irving Art Center, Texas, 2002

Acquired from the above


Vienna, Österreichische Galerie im Belvedere; Graz, Kulturhaus & Linz, Oberösterreichisches Landesmuseum,  Malerei des deutschen Expressionismus, 1987-1988, illustrated in color in the catalogue 

Roslyn, Nassau County Museum of Art, Long Island Collects – The Figure in Landscape 1870s to 1980s, 1990, no. 72., illustrated in color in the catalogue 


Gustav Vriesen, August Macke, Stuttgart, 1953, no. 311, catalogued

Serge Sabarsky, La peinture expressionniste allemande, Stuttgart, 1987, illustrated p. 317

Ursula Heiderich, August Macke, Gemälde, Werkverzeichnis, Ostfildern, 2008, no. 374, illustrated p. 415

Catalogue Note

Macke's Drei nackte Mädchen (Rot und Orange) exemplifies the world of primal innocence and freedom which characterized the artist's most successful Expressionist compositions.  This celebration of the joys of outdoor life calls to mind a series of Bathers painted by Paul Cézanne and the Fauvist trio of bathers in Matisse's Le Luxe from 1907-08.  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.   

Painted in Bonn in 1912, the tranquility of Drei nackte Mädchen (Rot und Orange) gives no indication of the rising tensions sweeping across the artist's homeland. Barry Herbert discusses Macke's Expressionist predilection for painting  these halcyonic settings, populated by unencumbered nudes: "Macke's work was a constant reaffirmation of his unaffected delight in this earthly paradise of which he found himself to be a part, and in his paintings he recorded its small, apparently insignificant, moments of pleasure with a penetrating and tender eye for the underlying currents of feeling that made them memorable...  In them it is as if all worldly cares have been temporarily laid aside, self-consciousness has been forgotten, and these men and women once again experience something like their former state of innocence.  Their figures are static and calm in the midst of activity as they wait, quietly observing the ebb and flow of life around them – and it was no mere artistic affectation that made Macke show his characters either sunk deep in thought or in the act of silently watching.  The passing moment becomes fixed in time" (B. Herbert, German Expressionism, Die Brücke and Der Blaue Reiter, London, 1983, pp. 148 & 149).