Who is Franz Marc?

“Curiouser and curiouser!”
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Die großen blauen Pferde, The Large Blue Horses by Franz Marc (1911)

Owning an art calendar has the same power over me as Lewis Carroll’s rabbit hole had over Alice.  Today, the vision of Franz Marc’s The Large Blue Horses was all that was needed for to jump head-long into the rabbit hole, taking my tea with me, in case I met up with the Mad Hatter.

Who was Franz Marc?  The painting was riveting with the dramatic shades of blue with orange, yellow and purple in the background.  The bright primary colours invited me to take a closer look.  Curiouser and curiouser…

Research begins with a simply question of “Who” and before long, the rest of the 5 Ws show up: What, When, Where, Why? Art is more than the painting that resides on a wall.  To me, art is the culmination of what a person has loved, has endured, has experienced.

Franz Marc was born in Munich, 1880, the capital of what was then the Kingdom of Bavaria. He lived during the apex of the German expressionist movement.   At twenty, he enrolled in the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich, but before long he would spend time in Paris (1903 and 1907) where he would be surrounded by the glittering Parisian art community. He was excited by the works of Gauguin, Van Gogh, Picasso and Matisse, which inspired him to create his individual style.  Travelling with his brother, Paul, a Byzantine expert, to Thessaloniki and the holy mountain of Mount Athos opened him to the influence of ancient times.  In 1911, he founded the Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) journal, along with his friends Wassily Kandinsky, August Macke and other artists, which became a centre of artistic endeavour.

Franz’s life was to be short; his death at 36, came when he was felled by an artillery shell during the Battle of Verdun.  His unique style, and creative approach, became a benchmark for artists who followed: Marc Chagall, Piet Mondrian, Jackson Pollock.  Perhaps that is the greatest legacy of all – to reside in the hearts and minds of fellow artists.

The Fate of the Animals by Franz March (1913)
“The Fate of the Animals” (Tierschicksale, in German) which Franz completed in 1913, was a portent of WWI and a grim foreshadowing of the destruction and sadness that was to come. This piece was a significant departure from his earlier works, which depicted animals at peace.  Franz had a strong connection to animals which many believe came from his association with his childhood dog.

31 Replies to “Who is Franz Marc?”

  1. Art is life, as the saying goes.. And I’ll follow you down the rabbit hole any day if I get to read such thoughtful writing as this post again and again 🙂

    1. There is so many wonderful things to explore: art, music, poetry. Ah, my dear friend – I do enjoy your poetry. I just read “Challenge” this morning.

      “A challenge awaits, and
      A new layer of seat begins.”

      Perfect for Monday mornings.

  2. By chance I’ve come across this blog of yours and I’ ve really enjoyed reading your report and looking, especially, at the fate of the animals, whose colours I like very much. The painters of the Blauen Reiter are just amazing! Thank you very much , dear Rebecca and have a pleasant weekend. Your friend Martina

    1. Thank you Martina!! I have been away from blogging for a couple of months working on several work projects. I plan to return this week. There is so much art around us. Franz Marc was extraordinary – his voice continues to speak through his art. Have a wonderful weekend. Sunshine has come for a day to Vancouver!!!

      1. Never mind, dear Rebecca, I just hope that your projects are proceeding well! I thought for today:
        Art has always been and is in its very essence the boldest departure from nature. It is the bridge into the spirit world. Franz Marc
        Yesterday we had around 20 degrees in Locarno. Much sun to you too!:):)

      2. We are having a typical Vancouver Monday!!! Liquid sunshine and a fresh breeze off the ocean. Have a wonderful day, my dear friend.

  3. I’d seen, and admired, the painting ‘The Large Blue Horses’, Rebecca, though, hadn’t investigated further. I love his use of colour and curves; certainly brings about a peaceful image. And yet, in the second painting, once again his use of colour, and the symmetry between the elements, is so masterful I hardly see it as anything but a wonderful piece of art.

    1. Thank you for your visit and comments. I agree – the use of colours defines an idea and allows us to explore our emotional response to the art. I am grateful for the creative spirits that add joy to our life. Have a wonderful day!!

  4. Simply the best. I am not a religious of spiritual person but in Franz Marc’s work I do feel a sense of spirit in the different animals and colours he creates. The complex relationship between colour and mood, composition, masculine and feminine, power, energy and spirit is never clearer than ‘The Fate of the Animals’ – a piece which speaks of our current state of biodiversity and the threats it faces. I thank Marc for transforming me into the artist I am.

    1. Sorry for the late response! I’ve been in and out of WIFI for the past two weeks traveling the Outer Hebrides! Thank you for your insightful comments. We live in a complex world that demands our highest level of participation! Art allows us to recognize alternatives, fresh perspectives! Looking forward to our ongoing dialogue!😀😀😀

  5. Thank you for the introduction to the artist. I have enjoyed the post and look forward to discovering what else may be hidden on your blog? 🙂

    Thank you for choosing to follow one of my blogs. Léa

    1. So glad that we connected. Looking forward to our ongoing dialogue and sharing insights that allow us to celebrate art and community. Have a wonderful day.

      1. I shall look forward to it indeed! Have a lovely day and an even better weekend.

    1. Dear Petra! You continue to inspire us all with your commitment to build a compassionate community. I have been off the grid for a few days visiting family. In the end, what we will remember is the connections we made during our journey. Thank you again for connecting over the “blogger miles.”

  6. Unfortunately, the fate of the animals is still coming to fruition! Respect all the animals, love and cherish them! I love what you have shown me of this brief life’s work.

    1. As you know, I am doing some research into the beginnings of the SPCA (RSPCA in Great Britain) and have found that there is a strong connection between art and the love of animals and a respect for nature. I love Paul Cezanne’s thought: “Art is a harmony parallel with nature.” A new week has come, the adventures continue – looking forward to your next post. Many hugs coming your way…

    1. I do too!! Franz Marc has a great understanding of our place on this earth. I confess that I have not plumbed the depths of his work. Thank you for your visit – always a joy when you stop by…

    1. I always wanted to enroll in an art/history course, but was concerned that I would find it too structured. My art calendar has been a source of inspiration – every day, I look up the names of the artists on the Google Art Project, which is an excellent resource. My interest is looking for the artist behind the art work. It has been a wonderful journey. It is about integrating art into daily activities; in doing so I can take a fresh look what’s happening “today.”

      1. You continue to inspire me!!! Life is the best enjoyed when you walk with kindred spirits.

  7. I have always adored his work and am saddened whenever I think of the loss of such an artist. His potential never realized. He was seemingly both genius and loving-kindness, a curious mix. His blue horses are always wonderful as are his deer! xo

    1. I agree wholeheartedly!! What was even more tragic – orders were on the way to have Franz Marc recalled from the war zone. The government had identified him as a notable artist that needed to be safeguarded. What he accomplished was remarkable.

  8. I really, really like this painting–how unusual and beautiful. I recognized the artist immediately–how can a person miss his genius. I had to look through the art on the art calendar that you gave me for Christmas. I knew “Little Blue Horse” was there–and it was, a few days ago. I think he must have liked the color blue. He founded the Blue Rider Journal. it seems that “The Fate of the Animals” Is different than the paintings he did of the blue horses. So sad that his life was cut short–such is the tragedy and result of war. So sad and terrible–such a waste!

    1. I agree – we will never know where his genius would take the art world. I especially appreciated his love of animals and nature. What is striking is his ability to foreshadow events in his painting. Thank you for your comments – so glad that you enjoyed this post!

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