Franz Marc – Nature’s Colorful Spirit

On this date in 1880, in Munich, Germany, Franz Marc was born. In his short life he helped blaze trails for, and participated in, the birth of the modern art movement. During his 36 years he studied the masters, his work passed gracefully from impressionism, to expressionism, to fauvism, and on into cubism.

He maintained friendships with the most pioneering artists of his day. He inspired & was inspired by some of the most notable artists of the early 20th century, including August Macke, Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Robert Delaunay, and Paul Klee. Marc & Wassily Kandinsky were the creative cornerstone for Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) movement & published an almanac by the same name.

A painting of two horses by Franz Marc

Franz Marc’s earlier works show the impressionistic influence of his art education. “Small Horse Picture” painted in 1909

Fran Marc large-lenggries-horses-1908

Large Lenggries Horses, painted in 1908. Another transitional work by Franz Marc.

Franz Marc horse-in-a-landscape-1910

“Horse in a Landscape” Painted in 1910 shows the development of Marc’s interest in & studies of color theory.

Blue Horse I (1910) is one of Marc's most famous works.  Here again we see man (in this case, likely Marc himself) represented by the strong figure of the horse and emphasized by the masculine blue.

Blue Horse I (1910) is one of Marc’s most famous works. Here again we see man (in this case, likely Marc himself) represented by the strong figure of the horse and emphasized by the masculine blue.

Franz Marc's "Red and Blue Horse", painted in 1912, beautifully illustrates his symbolism in color.  The masculine blue horse in the foreground, balanced by the feminine red horse.  He is moving steadily away from the representational and toward the abstract.

Franz Marc’s “Red and Blue Horse”, painted in 1912, beautifully illustrates his symbolism in color. The masculine blue horse in the foreground, balanced by the feminine red horse. He is moving steadily away from the representational and toward the abstract.

Franz Marc the-tower-of-blue-horses-1913

The “Tower of Blue Horses” (1913) is filled with symbolism and Marc’s fascination with the spirit in nature. The blue color representing the male and masculinity. We can clearly see the cubist elements in this piece. It is very unfortunate that this huge piece has been missing since 1945. It must have been breathtaking to behold in person.

He was killed on March 4, 1916, while serving during WWI, just days before he was to return home.  It’s heartbreaking to imagine what marvelous work he could have continued to create had he survived the war. But the spirit of his completed works transcend time.  His colorful, spellbinding scenes continue to inspire artists of all ages, as I’m sure they will for centuries to come.

“Like everything genuine, its inner life guarantees its truth. All works of art created by truthful minds without regard for the work’s conventional exterior remain genuine for all times.” – Franz Marc

Learn more about Franz Marc’s life & view many more examples of his work at FranzMarc.org

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