“I make the most outrageous demands on my imagination and leave aside everything else.” ~Franz Marc
Franz Marc (pronunciation) was a German painter and printmaker best known for his influential role in the development of Expressionism. A prolific artist, Marc produced a large body of work in a variety of media including painting, drawing, prints, and sculpture. Much of his work explores the relationship between man and nature, and his use of color and form seek to represent the emotional experience of the world.
Marc was born in Munich, Germany (pronunciation) on February 8 1880. His father was a successful landscape painter, and from an early age, Marc showed an interest in art and demonstrated talent as a draftsman. His childhood was spent between Munich and the family’s country estate, where he developed a love for animals and nature.
In 1900, he enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. During his time at the Academy, Marc became interested in the work of Vincent van Gogh and Paul Cézanne. After graduating from the Academy in 1903, he traveled to Paris where he continued to study the work of Cézanne and other Post-Impressionist artists such as Paul Gauguin and Vincent van Gogh, as well as Expressionist artists.
Not only did this allow him to gain more experience, and learn from their influences, it also enabled him to draw many of his styles, and artistic forms from the works of individuals which he was around often.
In 1910, he met Wassily Kandinsky, another German painter who would have a profound influence on his work. The two artists became close friends, and together they founded the Blue Rider group in 1911.
The Blue Rider group was a loose association of artists who shared an interest in non-representational art. Marc, Kandinsky, and other members of the group believed that art should express inner emotions and states of mind, rather than simply depict the external world. This philosophy would come to define Marc’s artistic style.
In 1912, Marc had his first solo exhibition at a Munich gallery. The show was not well received by the public or critics, but it did bring him to the attention of established artists such as August Macke and Alexei Jawlensky.
He worked feverishly in the years leading up to World War I, producing a large body of work that includes some of his most famous paintings. In 1914, he married the daughter of a wealthy art dealer and moved to Switzerland.
When World War I broke out in 1914, Marc enlisted in the German army. He was assigned to a cavalry unit and sent to the front lines in France. There he witnessed the brutal realities of war, which left him deeply shaken. The experience had a profound effect on him, and his later work would often reflect the horrors he witnessed.
Marc was killed in action in 1916, at the age of 36. His death came just as he was beginning to receive widespread recognition for his work. However, he is considered one of the most important artists of the Expressionist movement.