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Blue Horse I

The Yellow Cow

Franz Marc

(1880 - 1916)

Franz Marc was born in Munich, Germany on February 8, 1880. His father had studied law but at the time of his birth he worked as a professor at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts. His mother was a housewife who brought up her children (Franz being the second), with a strict and instructive upbringing.

In 1899, Marc enlisted himself to study theology and philology at the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich. But only after serving a year in the military in which he earned the degree of corporal. Marc then decided to study the art of painting at the academy of Munich.

In 1904, Marc decided to quit the academy and began to work in his own atelier in Munich, keeping always in touch with most of his colleagues at the academy. During this time, he became influenced by Munich's famous animal painter Heinrich von Zügel as well as by Adolf Hoelzel.

Franz Marc was a founder in the birth of abstract art at the beginning of the twentieth-century. Together with Wassily Kandinsky, whom he had met at the Academy, Marc Franz founded the art association “The Blue Rider” or also known as the “Der Blaue Reiter group”. Other members were Gabriele Münter and Alexeji Jawlensky. Later they were joined by August Macke and Paul Klee. For Marc Franz the group had become something like a home. He suddenly had companions whom he could exchange his ideas about art.

After 1913, in response to cubism and futurism, he turned to abstraction, creating moods of clashing, inharmonious uncertainty. An example is one of his last paintings, titled Fighting Forms . Here we see he abandoned figural painting and turned to abstract color fantasies.

Nearly all works of art created by Marc Franz show animals. He liked animals and saw in them innocent beings in accordance with nature. In works such as Blue Horses, he used stylized lines and curves and brilliant unrealistic color to create and heighten the sense of nature perceived.

In February 1916, Franz Marc was killed in World War I at the age of thirty six, leaving behind his wife Maria Franck. During his brief life, he managed to create some of the most exuberant and romantic paintings of the Expressionist movement. Franz Marc will forever be remembered for his paintings of animals in brilliant colors and simplified, nearly cubist forms.

Movements associated with Franz Marc:

Art prints by Franz Marc
Blue Horse I The Yellow Cow


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