Franz Marc's Paintings

who was franz marc?

Marc was a German painter well known for his large and bright areas of colors and subject matter that consisted primarily of animals and nature.

early life

He was born into a family that already had an artistic background due to his father, Wilhelm Marc, being a landscape painter who also studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich.


In 1900, when Marc was 20 years old, he started his studies at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts, where his father studied.


Marc, Kandinsky, and Macke formed what became known as the German Der Blaue Reiter group, meaning “The Blue Rider”, in 1911.

later life

Franz Marc has been remembered as having a short life and career; he died when he was 36 years old. During 1914, Marc became an enlisted cavalryman for the Imperial German Army.

artistic traits

The world has come to know Marc's art depicting his love of animals and colors. His art connected to a deeper, spiritual, aspect inherent in life and nature, and his expressive styles showcased this.

animals and pantheism

Marc experimented with the Art Nouveau style in his early years, which would have been during his 20s. But when he traveled to Paris, his style changed.

animals and pantheism

Franz Marc’s depiction of animals was closely tied to his pantheistic beliefs. We see many of his animals in nature and as many sources state, in their “natural habitat”.

color symbolism

If we look at Marc’s Yellow Cow (1911), we again see the rhythmic flow of lines, especially in the cow’s body posture, stretched out and jumping. 

color symbolism

Coloring was one of Marc’s most important artistic tools. He felt that color symbolized different aspects. Marc applied primary colors in large areas of his paintings, notably his animals.

beautiful to ugly

Importantly, Marc also had another perception that contrasted how he perceived animals and the natural world as more “pure” and people as “ugly”.