Executed in 1913, Frau mit Kind und Mädchen auf der Strasse
is a wonderful example of August Macke's favourite theme: an atmospheric depiction of a modern paradise represented by figures at leisure, whether in parks, at zoos or ambling along waterside promenades. As a member of the Blaue Reiter
group, Macke was drawn to paint modern-life subjects. Unlike other Expressionists such as Kirchner, however, Macke's representations of the city have a softer tone. His depictions of figures going about their day show people who appear to be at ease with their environment. As Wieland Schmied commented: 'August Macke was much more of a wanderer than Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and he walked through the streets of the city as if it were another form of nature. At first the city was nothing more than a nature 'tamed'. He was especially interested in the vegetation, the parks, the zoo with its zebras, herons and parrots... August Macke always presents domesticated nature, the town is permeated by nature, reconciled with her, with an abundance of open spaces and bordered by parks' (Wieland Schmied, German Art in the 20th Century
(exhibition catalogue), Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1985, p. 36).
Macke was strongly inspired by Robert Delaunay and the tenets of Cubism, as is reflected in the simplified angular forms which make up the composition of the present work Frau mit kind und Mädchen auf der Strasse (Woman with Child and Girls on the Street). The two groupings of female figures are arranged here in overlapping layers, whilst the street is deftly articulated and framed through the emphasised verticals of the trees that meet with the horizontal counterweight of the pavement. An impressive combination of complex spatial construction and expressive application of medium, the overall sense is one of time as both fleeting and eternal.