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Born in Munich 1880, Franz Marc would in time become one of the beloved artists of his period. His rich, sharp, elaborate colors gave his work an extreme, urgent feel, not unlike some of the work of Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky.

Marc, who suffered from "severe depressions", counted among his more direct and pronounced influences impressionism, cubism, fauvism, and expressionism. As one of the founders of the annual art almanac The Blue Rider, along with Klee and Kandinsky, it may indeed be more accurate to say that Marc was a major influence of expressionism, rather than to say that expressionism was an influence of his.

Marc was particularly fond of the possibilities in the representation of animals in abstract art, and he even supported himself for a time by giving animal-anatomy lessons to art students. His work with animals in abstract art is so consistently brilliant that it is impossible to represent it by providing merely "highlights", but it can be said that some pieces of his that tend to be best-remembered include his The fate of the animals, Blue Horses, Tiger, and The Red Horses.

The son of a landscape painter, Marc himself advanced over the course of his artistic career from someone who clung to naturalism to someone willing to give himself up to daring colors, and with these colors a more profound understanding of the meaning and value and impression made by the animal itself. His Tiger, for instance,


accords the animal some element of mystery, a mystery without which the tiger is not a tiger. Its body is accentuated, its direction is uncertain but still immediate, and it is lithe and liquid. Its eyes threaten. Marc's Tiger is at once the brightest color in its environs, and darkly menacing. It lies in a motley bed of mysterious hues, and something about its intolerant eye suits these colors perfectly.

In 1914 Franz Marc volunteered for military service, because he understood war as "some kind of a purification of a spoiled and rotten civilization", "a positive force in the sense of a cultural and social renewing". In 1915, after watching a number of his friends die, and experiencing much of the horrors of war firsthand, Marc seemed to have suffered a change of opinion when he wrote: "War is one of the most evil things to which we sacrificed ourselves." In 1916 he was struck in the head by grenade shrapnel at Verdun, and fell from his horse to die in the dirt.

The horse was by far the favorite form of Franz Marc the painter.

"Dreaming Horse": http://hs.riverdale.k12.or.us/~dthompso/art/marc/gallery/traeumendes_pferd.html

"The fate of the animals": http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/marc/fate-animals.jpg


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