Marc, Franz

Marc, Franz

(fränts märk), 1880–1916, German painter. Influenced by August MackeMacke, August
, 1887–1914, German painter. Trained in Germany, he made several trips to Paris, where he came in contact with impressionism and the fauvist and cubist painters.
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, he developed a rich, chromatic symbolism. He depicted a mystical world of animals, especially horses, employing devices of distortion to express the animals' own awareness of their lives. Marc's pictorial conception of nature became increasingly abstract, resulting in the formation of colorful, crystalline patterns. Together with KandinskyKandinsky, Wassily or Vasily
, 1866–1944, Russian abstract painter and theorist. Usually regarded as the originator of abstract art, Kandinsky abandoned a legal career for painting at 30 when he moved to Munich.
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 and KleeKlee, Paul
, 1879–1940, Swiss painter, graphic artist, and art theorist, b. near Bern. Klee's enormous production (more than 10,000 paintings, drawings, and etchings) is unique in that it represents the successful combination of his sophisticated theories of art with a
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, Marc was a leader of the Blaue ReiterBlaue Reiter, der
[Ger.,=the blue rider], German expressionist art movement, lasting from 1911 to 1914. It took its name from a painting by Kandinsky, Le cavalier bleu.
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 group. He was killed in World War I. Characteristic examples of his art are the Gazelle (Mus. of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, R.I.) and Blue Horses (Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minn.).


See study by G. Schmidt (tr. 1960).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Marc, Franz


Born Feb. 8, 1880, in Munich; killed Mar. 4, 1916, at Verdun. German painter.

Marc studied at the Munich Art Academy in 1900-02 under G. Hackl and W. von Diez. In 1903, 1907, and 1912 he visited Paris. He was influenced consecutively by modernism, cubism, and futurism. In cooperation with W. Kandinsky and A. Macke he organized the Blue Rider artists association in 1911; in 1912-14 he was one of the leaders of early expressionism. The main theme of Marc’s painting, to which he attributed a mystical symbolic meaning, was the depiction of animals in their natural setting. His ecstatic images, dynamic in form and with sharply outlined drawing and a tense color scheme (several basic colors), reflected a spontaneous rejection of contemporary reality and a presentiment of social upheavals (The Tower of Blue Horses and The Fate of Animals, 1913, Public Art Collection, Basel). Continuing further in his distortion of nature, Marc displayed an affinity for abstract art (Fighting Forms, 1914, Municipal Gallery, Munich). During the period of fascism Marc’s works were removed from museums.


Iz statei 1911-1914 godov. [Preface by B. A. Zernova.] In Mastera iskusstva ob iskusstve, vol. 5, book 2. Moscow, 1969.
DerBlaue Reiter. Published by W. Kandinsky. Munich, 1912; 2nd ed. Munich, 1914.
Briefe, Aufzeichnungen und Aphorismen, vols. 1-2. Berlin, 1920.


Lankheit, K. Franz Marc. … Cologne, 1960.
Schardt, A. Franz Marc, Berlin, 1936. (New edition, Berlin, 1963.)
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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