Franz Marc

Franz Marc (February 8, 1880, Munich – March 4, 1916, Battle of Verdun) is a German painter, one of the key figures of the German Expressionism. Marc actively participated in setting up and operation of Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) circle of artists together with Wassily Kandinsky and August Macke.

His father was a professional landscape painter and Franz followed his father’s steps and in 1900 he entered the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. After graduation he spends some time in Paris where he studies and copies great masters of the past, strikes up new acquaintances, and on the whole he is around long enough to plunge deep into the art life of Paris together with many other artists whose discoveries will determine the development of the avant-garde. In 1906 Franz travels over Greece together with his elder brother.

In 1910 he gets acquainted with August Macke and in the same year he joins the New Artists’ Association, Munich (Neue Künstlervereinigung, or NKVM). But already in 1911 Franz Marc splits off from NKVM together with Macke, Kandinsky and other artists in order to take part in arrangement of something completely new. The Blue Rider circle of artists becomes the flagship, bringing the new meaning of arts of the new century. Read about the circle of artists in more detail here.

In his creative work Franz Marc was always drawn to portraying animals in natural surroundings. The basis of his emotional painting is bright, consistent primary colours, simplified cubist shapes. Besides, the painter characterized the main colours he used: blue meant masculinity and spirituality, yellow represented female joy, red was the sound of violence, etc.

In 1914 Franz Marc volunteered for frontline duty, enlisted in the Army and used his talent on the front line where he painted camouflaging awnings in pointillist style. In 1916 the German Headquarters drew up lists of well-known artists to be withdrawn from combat. Franz Marc was also included in the said lists but the respective order did not come in time. He was killed by a shell splinter on March 4, 1916 in the Battle of Verdun.


"Blue Horse", 1911



"Foxes", 1913



"The fate of the animals", 1914

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