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Franz Marc Artist Biography

Franz Marc was at the forefront of German Expressionism and was a founding member of The Blue Rider group. His paintings were highly distinctive and incredibly powerful. He was very sensitive to his surroundings, a characteristic which was pushed to overload with the outbreak of the First World War. Franz Marc was born in 1880 in Munich the second son of the painter Wilhelm Marcand and his Alsace-born wife Sophie. After one year's military service, he attended the Munich University to study philosophy and theology. He switched to painting in 1920 and studied for two years at the Kunstakademie.

In 1903, Franz Marc travelled to Paris where he first encountered the work of the Impressionists; the works of Gauguin and Van Gogh particularly impressed him. In 1909, he moved to Sindelsdorf, Germany with Maria Franck who was later to become his wife. In 1910, he met the Russian-born painter Wassily Kandinsky, who was a member of a group of Expressionist artists known as the Neue Künstlervereinigung (“New Artists’ Association”). Franz Marc joined the group in 1911 and worked closely with another member, the young painter August Macke, whose idiosyncratic use of broad areas of rich colour led him to experiment with similar techniques.

Wispily Kandinsky and Franz Marc developed the idea that mystical energy is best revealed through abstraction. Franz Marc believed that civilization destroys human awareness of the spiritual force of nature; consequently, he mostly concentrated on painting animals, believing they were more important physically and spiritually than humans. He was a highly emotional painter regarding different colours as representing some feeling or perception of the animal. In 1912, he was exposed to the work of Robert Delaunay and this led Franz Marc into further abstractions, most notably 'Animal Destinies' (1913). In 1914, the death of his friend August Macke on the battle field disturbed him enormously. Sadly, Franz Marc was to succumb to the same fate a few months later in 1916.

"The Blue Rider has fallen, a mighty, biblical figure about whom there hung a fragrance of Eden. Across the landscape he cast a blue shadow. He was the one who could still hear the animals speak; and he transfigured their uncomprehend souls."

Else Lasker-Schuler's obituary to Franz Marc in the Berliner Tageblatt. (1916).

More art prints from Franz Marc

Two Cats, Blue and Yellow By Franz Marc
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