Franz Marc | Degenerate Artist

All eight images above were painted over a three year period and form a part of a menagerie of animal artworks from cows, cats, horses, a fox, a little blue horse, a monkey, a dog lying in the snow and a set of stables. All of these works were painted in bright primary colours under the artist’s influence of fellow modern artists involved in cubism and futurism. The colour blue was used to portray masculinity and spirituality; yellow represented feminine joy; and red encased the sound of violence.

The artist – Munich-born painter and print-maker Franz Marc (February 8, 1880 – March 4, 1916) one of the key figures of the German Expressionist art movement.

  • In 1911, Marc was a founding member of Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider), a journal whose name later became synonymous with the circle of artists including August Macke, Wassily Kandinsky and others who had split from the New Artist’s Association movement (Neue Künstlervereinigung).
  • This movement held exhibitions throughout Germany in major cities such as Munich, Berlin, Cologne, Hagen and Frankfurt.
  • The following year Marc met Robert Delaunay whose use of colour and futurist method was a major influence on Marc’s work.

During the ‘Great War’ Marc enlisted in the German Army first as a cavalryman and later as a war artist using military camouflage to paint canvas covers to hide artillery from aerial observation. His career was cut short when he was struck in the head and killed instantly at the age of 36, by a shell splinter during the Battle of Verdun on 4th March, 1916.

  • Years later, the National Socialists took power and suppressed modernist art; in 1936 and 1937, the Nazis condemned the late Marc as an Entarteter Künstler (degenerate artist) and ordered approximately 130 of his works be removed from exhibition in German museums.

Thankfully those years are over and art lovers can once again appreciate the art of the great Franz Marc.

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