Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Marc, Franz

The Fate of the Animals (Animal Destinies)
Oil on canvas
196 x 266 cm
Kunstmuseum, Basle

Franz Marc (1880 – 1916) was a German painter, and one of the key figures of the German Expressionist movement.
He was a pioneer in the birth of abstract art at the beginning of the twentieth-century.
His work is characterized by bright primary color, an almost cubist portrayal of animals, stark simplicity and a profound sense of emotion. He gave an emotional meaning or purpose to the colors he used in his work: blue was used for masculinity and spirituality, yellow represented feminine joy, and red encased the sound of violence.
His best-known painting is probably Tierschicksale (also known as Animal Destinies or The Fate of the Animals...this painting), which hangs in the Kunstmuseum Basel. He completed the work in 1913, when "the tension of impending cataclysm had pervaded society". On the rear of the canvas, he wrote, "Und Alles Sein ist flammend Leid" ("And all being is flaming agony"). Conscripted during World War I, he wrote to his wife of this painting, it "is like a premonition of this war--horrible and shattering. I can hardly conceive that I painted it." Tragically, he was killed near Verdun, France while in his military service, on March 4, 1916 at the age of thirty-six.

After the National Socialists took power, they suppressed modern art; in 1936 and 1937, the Nazis condemned Marc as an entarteter Künstler' (degenerate artist), and ordered that approximately 130 of his works be taken from exhibit in German museums.