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Franz Marc (February 8, 1880 – March 4, 1916) was one of the principal painters and printmakers of the German Expressionist movement. He was a founding member of "Der Blaue Reiter" ("The Blue Rider"), an almanac the name of which later became synonymous with the circle of artists collaborating in it.
Franz Marc was born in 1880, in the German town of Munich. His father, Wilhelm, was a professional landscape painter, and his mother Sophie was a strict Calvinist. In 1900, he began to study at the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich, where his teachers would include Gabriel von Hackl and Wilhelm von Diez. In 1903 and 1907 he spent time in France, particularly in Paris, visiting the city's museums, and copying many of the images. In Paris, he frequented artistic circles which brought him into contact with a number of artists, including Sarah Bernhardt, and he discovered a strong affinity for the work of Vincent van Gogh.
In this period, Marc was involved in a number of stormy relationships, including a years-long affair with Annette von Eckardt, a married antiquary nine years his elder, and two marriages, first to Marie Schnuer, then to Maria Franck. In 1906, he traveled with his brother, a Byzantinist by trade, to Saloniki, Mount Athos, and various other Greek locations.
Marc developed an important friendship with the artist August Macke in 1910. In 1911 he formed the Der Blaue Reiter artist circle with Macke, Wassily Kandinsky, and other artists who decided to split off from the Neue Künstlervereinigung movement.
He showed several of his works in the first Der Blaue Reiter exhibition at the Thannhauser Galleries in Munich between December 1911 and January 1912. The exhibition was the apex of the German expressionist movement and also showed in Berlin, Köln, Hagen, and Frankfurt. In 1912, Marc also met Robert Delaunay, whose use of color and futurist method was a major influence on Marc's work. Marc became influenced by futurism and cubism, and his art became stark and abstract in nature.
His name was on a list of notable artists to be withdrawn from combat in World War I. Before the orders were carried out, he was struck in the head and killed instantly by a shell splinter during the Battle of Verdun (1916).
Marc made some sixty prints, in woodcut and lithography. Most of his mature work portrays animals, usually in natural settings. His work is characterized by bright primary color, an almost cubist portrayal of animals, stark simplicity and a profound sense of emotion, which garnered notice in influential circles even in his own time. Marc also gave an emotional meaning or purpose to the colors he used in his work, blue would be used for masculinity and spirituality, yellow represented feminine joy and red encased the sound of violence. Marc's work did not go unnoticed by the National Socialists; in 1936 and 1937, he was condemned by the Nazis as an "entarteter Künstler" ("degenerate artist"), and approximately 130 of his works were stripped from German museums.
Franz Marc's best known painting is probably Tierschicksale (also known as Animal Destinies or Fate of the Animals), which hangs in the Kunstmuseum Basel. Marc completed the work in 1913, when "the tension of impending cataclysm had pervaded society", as one art historian noted. On the rear of the canvas, Marc wrote, "Und Alles Sein ist flammend Leid" ("And all being is flaming agony"). Conscripted during World War I, Marc wrote to his wife of the painting, it "is like a premonition of this war--horrible and shattering. I can hardly conceive that I painted it."
In October 1998, several of Marc's paintings garnered record prices at Christie's art auction house in London, including Rote Rehe I (Red Deer I), which sold for $3.30m. This record was exceeded in October 1999, when Der Wasserfall (The Waterfall) was sold by Sotheby's in London to a private collector for $5.06m. This price set a record for both Franz Marc's work, and 20th century German painting.
Expressionism was a cultural movement, initially in poetry and painting, originating in Germany
at the start of the 20th-century. Its typical trait is to present the world under an utterly
subjective perspective, violently distorting it to obtain an emotional effect and vividly
transmit personal moods and ideas. Expressionist artists sought to express the meaning of "being
alive" and emotional experience rather than physical reality.
Expressionism emerged as an 'avant-garde movement' in poetry and painting before the first World
War; in the Weimar years was being appreciated by a mass audience, having its popularity peak in
Berlin, during the 1920s.
Expressionism is exhibited in many art forms, including: painting, literature, theatre, film,
architecture and music. The term often implies emotional angst. In a general sense, painters
such as Matthias Grünewald and El Greco can be called expressionist, though in practice, the
term is applied mainly to 20th century works.
The Expressionist stress on the individual perspective was also a reaction to positivism and
other artistic movements such as naturalism and impressionism.
Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) was a group of artists from the Neue Künstlervereinigung
München in Munich, Germany. Der Blaue Reiter was a German movement lasting from 1911 to 1914,
fundamental to Expressionism, along with Die Brücke which was founded the previous decade in
1905. Les Fauves (French for The Wild Beasts) were a short-lived and loose grouping of early
20th century Modern artists whose works emphasized painterly qualities and strong colour over
the representational or realistic values retained by Impressionism. While Fauvism as a style
began around 1900 and continued beyond 1910, the movement as such lasted only three years,
1905–1907, and had three exhibitions. The leaders of the movement were Henri Matisse and André
DER BLAUE REITER
Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) was a group of artists from the Neue Künstlervereinigung München in Munich, Germany. Der Blaue Reiter was a German movement lasting from 1911 to 1914, fundamental to Expressionism, along with Die Brücke which was founded the previous decade in 1905.
Wassily Kandinsky, Franz Marc, August Macke, Alexej von Jawlensky, Marianne von Werefkin, Gabriele Münter, Lyonel Feininger, Albert Bloch and others founded the group in response to the rejection of Kandinsky's painting Last Judgement from an exhibition. Der Blaue Reiter lacked a central artistic manifesto, but was centred around Kandinsky and Marc. Paul Klee was also involved.
The name of the movement comes from a painting by Kandinsky created in 1903 (see illustration). It is also claimed that the name could have derived from Marc's enthusiasm for horses and Kandinsky's love of the colour blue. For Kandinsky, blue is the colour of spirituality: the darker the blue, the more it awakens human desire for the eternal (see his 1911 book On the Spiritual in Art).
Within the group, artistic approaches and aims varied from artist to artist; however, the artists shared a common desire to express spiritual truths through their art. They believed in the promotion of modern art; the connection between visual art and music; the spiritual and symbolic associations of colour; and a spontaneous, intuitive approach to painting. Members were interested in European medieval art and primitivism, as well as the contemporary, non-figurative art scene in France. As a result of their encounters with cubist, fauvist and Rayonist ideas, they moved towards abstraction.
Der Blaue Reiter organized exhibitions in 1911 and 1912 that toured Germany. They also published an almanac featuring contemporary, primitive and folk art, along with children's paintings. In 1913 they exhibited in the first German Herbstsalon.
The group was disrupted by the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. Franz Marc and August Macke were killed in combat. Wassily Kandinsky, Marianne von Werefkin and Alexej von Jawlensky were forced to move back to Russia because of their Russian citizenship. There were also differences in opinion within the group. As a result, Der Blaue Reiter was short-lived, lasting for only three years from 1911 to 1914.
In 1923 Kandinsky, Feininger, Klee and Alexej von Jawlensky formed Die Blaue Vier (the Blue Four) group, and exhibited and lectured together in the United States in 1924.
An extensive collection of paintings by Der Blaue Reiter is exhibited in the Städtische Galerie in the Lenbachhaus in Munich.
Painting is a mode of expression and the forms are numerous. Drawing, composition or abstraction
and other aesthetics may serve to manifest the expressive and conceptual intention of the
practitioner. Paintings can be naturalistic and representational (as in a still life or
landscape painting), photographic, abstract, be loaded with narrative content, symbolism,
emotion or be political in nature. Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or
other medium to a surface (support base). In art, the term describes both the act and the
result, which is called a painting. Paintings may have for their support such surfaces as walls,
paper, canvas, wood, glass, lacquer, clay or concrete. Paintings may be decorated with gold
leaf, and some modern paintings incorporate other materials including sand, clay, and scraps of
paper. A portion of the history of painting in both Eastern and Western art is dominated by
spiritual motifs and ideas; examples of this kind of painting range from artwork depicting
mythological figures on pottery to Biblical scenes rendered on the interior walls and ceiling of
The Sistine Chapel, to scenes from the life of Buddha or other scenes of eastern religious
Among the continuing and current directions in painting at the beginning of the 21st century are
Monochrome painting, Hard-edge painting, Geometric abstraction, Appropriation, Hyperrealism,
Photorealism, Expressionism, Minimalism, Lyrical Abstraction, Pop Art, Op Art, Abstract
Expressionism, Color Field painting, Neo-expressionism, Collage, Intermedia painting, Assemblage
painting, Computer art painting, Postmodern painting, Neo-Dada painting, Shaped canvas painting,
environmental mural painting, traditional figure painting, Landscape painting, Portrait
painting, and paint-on-glass animation.
Developments in Eastern painting historically parallel those in Western painting, in general, a
few centuries earlier. African art, Islamic art, Indian art, Chinese art, and Japanese art each
had significant influence on Western art, and, eventually, vice-versa.
The oldest known paintings are at the Grotte Chauvet in France, claimed by some historians to be
about 32,000 years old. They are engraved and painted using red ochre and black pigment and show
horses, rhinoceros, lions, buffalo, mammoth or humans often hunting. However the earliest
evidence of painting has been discovered in two rock-shelters in Arnhem Land, in northern
Australia. In the lowest layer of material at these sites there are used pieces of ochre
estimated to be 60,000 years old. Archaeologists have also found a fragment of rock painting
preserved in a limestone rock-shelter in the Kimberley region of North-Western Australia, that
is dated 40 000 years old. There are examples of cave paintings all over the world—in France,
Spain, Portugal, China, Australia, India etc.
In Western cultures oil painting and watercolor painting are the best known media, with rich and
complex traditions in style and subject matter. In the East, ink and color ink historically
predominated the choice of media with equally rich and complex traditions.
Different types of paint are usually identified by the medium that the pigment is suspended or
embedded in, which determines the general working characteristics of the paint, such as
viscosity, miscibility, solubility, drying time, etc.
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