Agamemnon’s Tomb
  • August Macke
  • Meschede 1887 - 1914 Perthes-les-Hurlus / France
  • Agamemnon’s Tomb, 1906
  • Watercolour over pencil, on laid paper
  • 128 × 177 mm
Claus Cito, Niederkerschen/ Luxembourg (1882 - 1965)
private collection Germany
Ernst-Gerhard Güse: August Macke – Gemälde, Aquarelle,
Munich 1987, no. 15 (ill.)
U. Heiderich: August Macke, Aquarelle – Werkverzeichnis
(catalogue raisonné),
Ostfildern-Ruit 1997, no. 24 (ill.)
Städtische Kunstsammlungen, Bonn 1962,
The unknown Macke, cat. no. 39
Kunstmuseum Ehrenhof, Düsseldorf 1984,
The West German Impulse 1900-1914, Düsseldorf –
A city on its way to the modern,
cat. no. 417 (ill.)
Westfälisches Landesmuseum, Münster 1997,
August Macke - Watercolours, cat. no. 24 (ill.)
El museo del arte Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid 1998,
August Macke 1887-1914, cat. no. 8 (ill.)

From the beginning of his studies at the academy in Düsseldorf in 1904, August Macke had a close friendship with the sculptor Claus Cito from Luxembourg. They attended the evening class at the school for applied art together, and for a time even shared a studio in Düsseldorf-Oberkassel.

In 1906, both artists were commissioned to design the sets for a production of Aeschylus’ Oresteia at the city’s ambitious new Schauspielhaus (theatre). Unfortunately, this project never came to fruition, and all that remains of it is a small series of watercolours which Cito preserved all of his life following Macke’s premature death.

The sheet shown here, depicting the tomb of Agamemnon in front of the gates of his palace, is a striking example of August Macke’s ideas. Its eye-catching, undecorated architecture contrasts with the sombre group of cypresses, a symbol of death consciously borrowed from Arnold Böcklin.