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No. 7, June 2000
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Franz Marc - Horses
biography and the exhibition at the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart


The exhibition

 
It makes sense to hold the exhibition Franz Marc - Horses, a key theme in his work, at the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart. The museum possesses major paintings such as Small Blue Horses (1911) and Small Yellow Horses (1912; see the image below). 
 
Among the 120 works on display are paintings, drawings, water colors and postcards. The exhibition begins with his studies on nature of 1905/06 and ends with sketches he made shortly before his premature death at the front in the First World War in 1916.
 
Among the famous works on loan in Stuttgart are Blue Horses (1911) from the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, and Red Horses (1911), an anonymous loan to the Busch-Reisinger Museum in Cambridge, Mass., which both were last shown in Europe in the late 1930s. Some of the works are being shown in public for the first time ever in Stuttgart
(until September 10, 2000).
 
Biography a few remarks
 
Franz Marc (1880-1916) was born in Munich, Germany, as the second son of a mother from the Alsace, who gave her children a strict Calvinistic and bilingual (all of Marc's letters are written in French) education, and a father who had studied law but at his birth worked as a professor in painting at the Munich Academy.
 
In 1899, Marc enlists himself to study theology and philology at the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich. But first, he has to serve one year in the military. Coming back with the degree of a corporal, he decides to study painting at the Academy of Munich. Among his teachers are Gabriel von Hackl 1843-1926) and Wilhelm von Diez (1839-1907). In 1901, he travels to Florence, where his brother lives for his Byzantine studies, Padua and Verona. In 1903, he spends three month in Paris where he buys some Japanese woodcuts (the horses on the left, 1911/12, are a late testimony of this influence).

[New in 2006: if you read German, check the article about the Franz Marc retrospective at the Lenbachhaus in Munich: Franz Marc Die Retrospektive].


Franz Marc, Ruhende Pferde, 1911/12.
Photograph copyright: exhibition catalogue
Staatsgalerie Stuttgart.
 
artprice

 


Franz Marc, Die kleinen gelben Pferde, 1912. 
Photograph copyright: exhibition catalogue 
Staatsgalerie Stuttgart.
 

 

 

In 1904, Marc decides to quit the academy and begins to work in his own atelier in Munich. He keeps up the contact with the academic world and is influenced by Munich's famous animal painter Heinrich von Zügel (1850-1941) as well as by Adolf Hoelzel (1853-1934). In 1905, the contact with the young Swiss animal painter Jean Bloé Niestlé (1884-1942) has a liberating effect on Marc.
 
Two years later, Marc marries Marie Schnür, probably mainly in order to permit her to keep a illegal child she had with another painter in Munich. A mistake from the beginning, they divorced in 1908. Maria Franck becomes the new woman in his life.
 
In 1909, Marc can sell his first works to the Munich art dealers Franz Joseph Brakl and Heinrich Thannhauser. A year later, his friendship with August Macke begins. Marc is impressed by a Gaugin-exhibition in 1910 which enhances his estimation for the French painter. He also creates the cover for a Cézanne catalogue by Julius Meier-Graefe. The intellectual encounter with Cézanne allows Marc to get access to contemporary painting.
 
Later in 1910, he is influenced by the Neue Künstlervereinigung München and, a year later, he gets to know Jawlensky, Marianne von Werefkin and Wassily Kandinsky, who becomes his close friend. In 1911 (and 1912), Marc creates his most famous horse paintings and exhibits, together with Kandinsky, at the Frankfurter Kunstsalon M. Goldschmidt & Co. Marc marries Maria Franck in London, but for legal reasons, this union is not recognized in Germany.
 
In 1911, Together with Kandinsky, Marc elaborates the idea of the yearly almanac The Blue Rider (Der Blaue Reiter) and writes three articles for its first edition. Together with Kandinsky, Gabriele Münter and Alfred Kubin, Marc leaves the Neue Künstlervereinigung München in December and, the same month, they organize the first exhibition of Der Blaue Reiter.
 
In 1912, Marc establishes ties to the other major group of German expressionist artists, Die Brücke. This relation, imposed against Kandinsky's will, enhances his interest in woodcuts. He is involved in an intellectual argument with the German painter Max Beckmann. Thanks to a stay in Paris, he establishes close relations to Robert Delaunay. In May 1913, he finishes two major paintings, Turm der Blauen Pferde (missing) and Die Ersten Tiere (destroyed in a fire in 1917). He marries Maria Franck again, and this time it is legalized.
 
Under the influence of futurism and orphism, Marc's paintings become more abstract in 1913 and, a year later, are abstract color fantasies. At the outbreak of the First World War, Marc immediately registers as an officer in the reserve. First, he instructs recruits and, at the end of the same month, is sent the the Western front in the Alsace (as a messenger rider). In September, he becomes ill with dysentery. The artist's movement Der Blaue Reiter is disintegration and, on September 26, his close friend August Macke dies on the front. He is deeply moved, but has not lost his faith in war as a positive force in the sense of a cultural and social renewing.
 
In 1915, Marc writes his collection of 100 Aphorism and his essays Das geheime Europe (the secret Europe) are published in the March edition of the magazine Das Forum. On August 10, he is awarded the Iron Cross and promoted lieutenant. In February 1916, the German Ministry for Intellectual and Educational Affairs decides to give more artistic freedom to artists within the military or to withdraw them from the front. Maria Marc also gets a message in this sense, but before Franz Marc can profit from it, he falls in the battle for Verdun, hit in the temple by a grenade splinter on a reconnaissance ride - on a horse.               
_______________

Franz Marc - Pferde: exhibition at the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart until September 10, 2000. Check our Links for the museum's website. Catalogue: Hatje Cantz, 2000, 220 p., 220 ill. of which 140 in color. For more articles on art: Art.

www.cosmopolis.ch
No. 7, June 2000
English edition  Archives  Politics  History  Art  Film  Music  Lifestyle  Travel
Edition française  Archives  Politique  Histoire  Arts  Films  Musique  Art de vivre  Voyages
Deutsche Ausgabe  Archiv  Politik  Geschichte  Kunst  Film  Musik  Lebensart  Reisen

© Copyright  www.cosmopolis.ch  Louis Gerber  All rights reserved.