Elch in phantastischer Umgebung - (Hirsch in Landschaft)
4 3/4 x 6 inches (12,1 x 15,2 cm)
Colour woodcut, coloured in blue, green and black on thin imitated Japan paper
6 5/8 x 9 1/8 inches (16,8 x 22,9 cm)
From the winter of 1911/12, Franz Marc took up woodcutting at the suggestion of Wassily Kandinsky. And what could be more obvious than to approach this new medium via a motif already tried and tested with brush and pen: the horse! A "Lying Horse" from 1911, drawn in ink, prepares the composition until he cuts four "Resting Horses" in wood and prints them in three colours - black, blue and green. But in contrast to the sketchbook sheet, which concentrates on the animal with round, soft, compact forms, the woodcut imposes a certain angularity in contour and internal structure that gives the "Resting Horses" something sublime. Marc brings the animals close together and lets them merge into a compositional unity, as he had already done in the sketchbook with the integration of the horse into the surrounding nature. The technique of woodcutting now enables the artist to grasp the pictorial space in a completely new way and to achieve an intensive interplay of two-dimensional and linear elements, of colour and form. Through the monotype-like colouring of the printing block, our "Resting Horses" appear, almost as if painted with a brush, in harmonious unison. This gives the depiction a monumentality that must also have convinced the artist. This first work in the new technique - today one of the most important and sought-after prints in Marc's oeuvre - was followed by 21 further woodcuts.
Zwei Kühe in Landschaft
Pencil on paper
4 1/2 x 7 1/8 inches (11,5 x 18 cm)
Franz Marc's work has been characterised by his preoccupation with animal motifs since 1907. For him, they are symbols of the interconnectedness of nature and creatures and thus of the great harmony of creation. Our wonderfully dynamic and delicate drawing from Sketchbook XXIII gives a fine example of this view of the world, manifesting that around 1910/11 Marc moved the animal into the focus of his artistic interest.
Stylistically, this liberation is evident in his departure from naturalism, forms slowly dissolve and Marc's execution of the lines appears playful, as does the motif: two cows in a pasture present themselves in their completely natural habitus, with the front cow just turning its head towards the right hind leg, presumably to scratch or lick itself.
The importance of the subject to him can be concluded from the fact that he finally transferred the picture idea (laterally reversed) into a large-format coloured gouache, "Green Cow", from 1912.
Reitergruppe und Frauenakt (Arkadische Gruppe in Landschaft)
Pencil on paper
7 1/8 x 4 3/8 inches (17,9 x 11,2 cm)
Über Franz Marc
Born: 1880 in München
Died: 1916 near Verdun
Franz Marc was born in Munich on 8 February 1880. After graduating from high school, he initially enrolled to study philosophy at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, which he was not to take up due to a year of basic training in the military, during which Marc learned to ride a horse. Immediately afterwards he transferred to the Munich Art Academy, where his father had studied painting before him. In the years that followed, it was above all the French Impressionists, whose works he first encountered during a trip to Paris in 1903, who were to change Marc's style decisively. On another trip to Paris in 1907, the artist came under the influence of Paul Cezanne, Paul Gauguin and Vincent van Gogh, for whom he was exceptionally enthusiastic. From then on, he painted landscape motifs and depictions of animal anatomies, and animals were now among his main motifs at this time. His search for a suitable style led him to ever greater simplifications of form, and colour became an important means of expression. In 1910 he met August Macke, and during a visit to an exhibition of the "Neue Künstlervereinigung" he met Wassily Kandinsky, Alexej von Jawlensky and Gabriele Münter. Marc's style changed to an expressive, strong colourfulness, neglecting the representational more and more. In December 1911, the first exhibition of the editorial team "Der Blaue Reiter", of which Marc was a member, opened at the Galerie Thannhauser in Munich. Franz Marc's prominent pictures "Die Gelbe Kuh", "Hocken im Schnee" and others are created. In 1912 Marc publishes the artist almanac "Der Blaue Reiter" together with Kandinsky. At this time he travels to Paris with Macke, where they meet Robert Delaunay. Under Delaunay's influence and that of the Italian Futurists, he develops strong Cubist and Cubofuturist references in his works. In 1914 Marc moved to Ried near Benediktbeuern. There he painted his last large paintings, which had a symbolic, supra-temporal quality, such as "Rehe im Wald II" (Deer in the Forest II). Marc freed himself from naturalism, the forms slowly dissolved, and the design developed a dynamic of its own. On 4 March 1916 Franz Marc was killed in action near Verdun, hit by a shell.