Thursday, September 29, 2011

Franz Marc: The Exceptional Condition

Head of a Dead Horse, 1907-08

Franz Marc has always been a favorite painter. His belief in abstraction and his ability to fuse his life and art serve as a guide to sympathetic artists.
This post offers examples of his work and writings taken from the excellent introduction to his painting and philosophy: Franz Marc by Mark Rosenthal. The book is available here.

Creation I, 1914

Siberian Sheepdogs (Siberian Dogs in the Snow), 1909-10

Nude with Cat, 1910

Van Gogh is for me the most authentic, the greatest, the most poignant painter I know.
To paint a bit of the most ordinary nature, putting all one's faith and longings into it-
that is the supreme achievement...Now I paint...only the simplest things...
Only in them are the symbolism, the pathos, and the mystery of nature to be found.

Horse in the Landscape, 1910

Two Horses, Red and Blue, 1912

Playing Dogs, ca. 1912

The Little Yellow Horses, 1912

I am trying to enhance my sensibility for the organic rhythm that I feel is in all things...

Rain, 1912

The Tiger, 1912

Birth of the Horses, 1913

The creative artist honors the past by leaving it alone.

Horse Asleep, 1913 (?)

Watering Place on Rubinberge, 1913

Elephant, 1913

Dead Deer, 1913

Fairy Animals I, 1913

"In this time of great struggle for a new art we fight like disorganized savages against an old, established power. The battle seems to be unequal, but spiritual matters are never decided by numbers, only by the power of ideas. The dreaded weapons of the savages are their new ideas. New ideas kill better than steel and destroy what was thought to be indestructible."

From Der Blaue Reiter- Marc's essay entitled "The 'Savages' of Germany"

Ibex, 1913

Fate of the Animals, 1913

The Unfortunate Land of Tirol, 1913

The Wolves (Balkan War), 1913

There is only one blessing and redemption: death, the destruction of the form, which liberates the form, which liberates the soul...Death leads us back into normal being.

Fighting Forms, 1913

Broken Forms, 1914

Animals in Landscape (Painting with Bulls II), 1914

The Birds, 1914

From one of Marc's last letters, before his death, in the war, at Verdun in 1916:

I understand well that you speak as easily of death as of something that doesn't frighten you. I feel precisely the same. In this war, you can try it out on yourself- an opportunity life seldom offers one...nothing is more calming than the prospect of the peace of death...the one thing common to all. [it] leads us back into normal "being." The space between birth and death is an exception, in which there is much to fear and suffer. The only true, constant, philosophical comfort is the awareness that this exceptional condition will pass and that "I-consciousness" which is always restless, always piquant, in all seriousness inaccessible, will again sink back into its wonderful peace before birth...whoever strives for purity and knowledge, to him death always comes as a savior.


Debu Barve said...

Thanks for this treat!

L'Adelaide said...

a beautiful of my favorite artists and yes, he seems to feel what he paints, especially his sad he did not live long and paint forever.


Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing. I hadn't ever seen Elephant before and particularly liked that one. His obvious emotional expression in thr work is also what draws me to his pieces.

Thanks again for the share!

Paul Behnke said...

Thanks for checking out the blog Emilyann.
Marc is one of my favorites! Just saw his fantastic yellow cow at the Guggenheim a month or two ago.

Lena Creaties said...

Images speak louder than words. I think you have done a great job at capturing what Franz Marc had to tell and how his work evolved with that. I am writing a piece on Marc for my art studies at the moment and you helped me along. Thanks!

Franz Marc Fan said...

Stunning collection, a true master from the German expressionists. He studied color in detail, alongside Kandinsky.