Franz Marc an artist who saw the world through the eyes of animals

Blue Horse 1911
Blue Horse 1911

Franz Marc was a famous German expressionist painter of the early 20th century, one of the founders of the Blue Rider art group. All his life Franz Mark’s creativity was devoted to animals, which he considered to be higher beings. His paintings surprise with unusual animalistic images, which the master used for deep philosophical messages.

Franz Marc contrasted nature and the animal world with the follies of human life. The artist’s works are characterized by a luscious palette, sharp color transitions, intense forms.

Blue-Black Fox
Blue-Black Fox

Biography of Franz Marc

His father was fond of painting landscapes. The quiet, brooding boy planned to devote his life to religious activities. However, after completing urgent military service, the young man’s plans suddenly changed: he firmly decided to leave philosophy, realized that his vocation was painting. In the educational institution, the emphasis was on naturalism in art, historical painting, which was not very interesting for the future master.

However, he studied diligently until he visited Paris, where he saw the masterpieces of Van Gogh (Vincent Willem van Gogh), Édouard Manet, Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin (Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin). After these impressions, the conservative atmosphere of the academy became a burden to Mark. He dropped out of school, rented a workshop and began to work independently.

Crouching Deer
Crouching Deer

The artist had a rare talent for depicting animals.

He carefully studied their anatomy from books, he could watch animals in the zoo for days. In the works of Franz Mark, you can accurately determine the characteristics and habits of a particular animal. He considered animals to be higher beings, personifying harmony, more pure in comparison with man. In their eyes, the artist was looking for answers to the eternal questions of life.

Mark’s early works are still distinguished by naturalistic features, a natural palette, although even then the artist strove to rhythmically generalize forms in the spirit of symbolism.

Franz Marc Deer in a Monastery Garden
Deer in a Monastery Garden

Gradually, Franz Marc came to his own creative style he begins to create in the style of expressionism.

The animals on his canvases turn red, green, yellow, blue, and the landscape that serves as their background is very conditional.
In 1910 the young painter met the expressionist August Robert Ludwig Macke and joined the New Munich Association. Its leader was the famous Russian abstract painter Wassily Kandinsky. Soon, three colleagues formed their own art group called The Blue Rider.

The powerful personality of Wassily Kandinsky did not suppress Mark. On the contrary, his own style was actively developing the painter went from expressionism to abstraction. Since 1912, broken lines, stylized curves, bright and shiny unreal colors have appeared in the images of animals.

Franz Marc Deer in the Snow
Deer in the Snow
The personal life of the painter was not easy.

Mark had an affair with a married woman who made him depressed. Then he found himself in the center of a love triangle he could not choose between two artists, both were called Maria. He married one of them, beautiful, independent, in 1907, but quickly realized his mistake. Only in 1911 was he able to divorce in order to formalize relations with Maria Frank. This woman, not too sophisticated in appearance, but sincere and kind, turned out to be his real destiny. The images of both wives are presented in the work “Two Women on the Mountain”.

By 1914, Mark’s works, which had become almost completely abstract, expressed anxiety for the future of Europe and the entire world on the brink of war. The eyes of his beloved animals begin to express longing, doom appears in the curves of their bodies.

Dog Lying in the Snow
Dog Lying in the Snow

After the outbreak of hostilities, the artist went to the front as a volunteer. On March 4, 1916, Franz Marc was killed by a shell fragment near Verdun.

German Expressionists are an expressive, very emotional phenomenon in world culture, and Franz Marc was one of its brightest representatives. The artist lived a short but interesting life. And most of the creative plans were never destined to materialize: many animals were not painted.

Franz Marc Donkey Frieze
Donkey Frieze
Franz Marc In the Rain
In the Rain
Franz Marc Monkey Frieze
Monkey Frieze
Franz Marc Pigs
The Steer
The Steer
The Yellow Cow
The Yellow Cow
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