Zoological Garden I August Macke Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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This bright and uplifting work from August Macke is titled Zoological Garden and was one of several different paintings in a series on the same themes.

One can immediately spot several smartly dressed gentlemen making their way around the garden environment, looking distinctly formal in comparison with the related and fun nature that surrounds them. Several deer can be seen in the nearest foreground, carefully cropped to only include enough detail that they can be identified, but no so much that they dominate the composition. The brightness is provided by the birds that sit around within the park as well as the green toned pond which spreads in from the left hand side. There is also a terracotta brown tone used on the pathway, too, which produces a bright contrast against the strolling figures and their relatively plainly coloured suits.

In the background we can spot a beautiful flamingo which sits in the middle of the pond, whilst a number of houses are dotted in the far background, covered in foliage on the edge of the garden area. Parrots are dotted around in the foreground all along the right hand side of the path, whilst the water lines the opposing side. In the near ground we see one figure playfully interacting with one of the deers, showing a human side to his relatively vague and non-descript image. There is also a series of trees which provide coverage across the top of the composition and presumably give the parrots room to relax and play. Macke uses slim dark lines to capture most of his figures as well as the metallic elements of the fence which provides perspective across the scene.

The painting was completed in 1912, along with all of the others in this series. The exotic creatures are ideally suited to his traditionally bright color schemes and the array of birds also bring a sense of energy and fun. Society was distinctly reserved during the earliest parts of the 20th century, as displayed in the looking of the figures making their way around the park, but the birds display a clear contrast to this. There is a large parrot in the foreground with a brilliant display of colour and immediately captures your eye.

Zoological Garden I in Detail August Macke