by Susanna PartschFranz Marc (1880–1916) became known principally for his images of animals: blue horses, yellow tigers, red fawns. What was it that led him to concentrate on painting animals? Marc himself explained his choice of subject matter in these words: “From an early date I felt humankind to be ‘ugly’; animals seemed to me possessed of a greater beauty and purity...” Seeing Marc merely as a painter of animals proves, however, premature. Marc, cofounder of the Blauer Reiter group of Expressionist artists, was deeply dissatisfied with the impurity of the world, and was on a quest for a universal art which would resolve the contrarieties of life in the harmony of creation. Using pure colors highly charged with symbolic values, adopting crystalline shapes, and absorbing the influence of Cubism, he moved steadily towards an abstract order of image, coming closer to his own understanding of a better world. At the age of 36, Franz Marc’s life was cut short when he died in the Battle of Verdun.
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