In Dialogue with his Expressionist Artist Friends
18 March to 17 June 2018
The 125th birthday and 80th anniversary of the death of Expressionist Helmuth Macke (1891–1936) offer us an occasion to take a new look at his life‘s work. Born in Krefeld in 1891, the artist drowned tragically in 1936 during a boat excursion on Lake Constance. Our exhibition treats Macke for the first time in the context of his Expressionist artist friends and highlights his role as one of the players on the contemporary avant-garde scene. The show in the August Macke House Museum is the final lap of a travelling exhibition that began in Constance in the autumn of 2016.
Helmuth Macke was greatly admired by his artist friends. In his native city of Krefeld he became acquainted with modern currents in the art world through his teacher Johan Thorn Prikker and the progressive exhibition program of Krefeld’s museum. He maintained a lifelong friendship with fellow students Heinrich Campendonk and Wilhelm Wieger, as well as with his fatherly friend Heinrich Nauen. He carried on an intensive exchange with his cousin August Macke and, during his year‘s stay in Munich and surroundings, befriended Franz and Maria Marc as well as the major figures of Munich‘s art scene who participated in the Neue Künstlervereinigung and Der Blaue Reiter. We then see him in Berlin among the circle known as Künstlergruppe Brücke. There he was particularly close to Erich Heckel and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff. As described by August Macke‘s widow Elisabeth Erdmann-Macke in her reminiscence of an exciting time, “They all belonged together: Franz, August, und Helmuth. And when you thought of one of them, you thought of all of them – of their friendship and comradeship, of their wishes and objectives.”
Helmuth Macke created an independent and forceful body of works. His paintings range from expressive landscapes to portraits and still lifes. The exhibition takes a fresh look at the artist and offers insights into his personality and development in creative dialogue with friends such as Heinrich Campendonk, Wilhelm Wieger, Heinrich and Marie Nauen, as August Macke, Franz and Maria Marc, Gabriele Münter, Alexej von Jawlensky, Erich Heckel, Max Pechstein, and Hans Thuar.
Together with his artisan handicrafts, Helmuth Macke‘s paintings, watercolors, and drawings reveal both a fascinating and wide ranging oeuvre. As part of this traveling exhibition, an eight-piece bedroom set, painted by the artist, will be shown for the first time in a museum framework.
Curator: Dr. Ina Ewers-Schultz