Franz Marc

After Kandinsky, the great figure of the Expressionist group ‘The Blue Rider’ and one of the most important Expressionist painters was Franz Marc. He died at the height of his artistic powers, when his use of colour was even anticipating the later abstraction.

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About the artist: Franz Marc (1880 – 1916) was a German painter and printmaker, and is considered one of the most prominent figures of German Expressionism. He was a founding member of Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider), a journal whose name later became synonymous with the circle of artists collaborating in it, including August Macke. He had a major influence on Fauvism and Cubism.

Marc made around sixty prints in woodcut and lithography. Most of his mature work features animals, usually in natural settings. His work is characterised by rich, vivid colours, stark simplicity and almost cubist portrayal of animals. Marc liked to give an emotional meaning the colours he used in his work, for example blue was used to portray masculinity and spirituality, yellow feminine joy, and red violence and warfare. After the National Socialists took power, they suppressed modern art; in 1936 and 1937, the Nazis condemned the late Marc as an entarteter Künstler (degenerate artist) and ordered many of his works to be removed from exhibition in German museums. His painting Landscape With Horses was discovered in 2012, along with more than a thousand other paintings.