Franz Marc, Grazing Horses IV (1911)
Franz Marc, born Franz Moritz Wilhelm (1880-1916), was one of the most influential Expressionist painters in Germany. In 1911, he met Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944), Gabriele Münter (1877-1962), and August Macke (1887-1914) with whom he founded the artists group Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider). Marc, who became best known for his portrayals of animals, felt intimately connected to them throughout his entire life. Often cited is his statement: “Is there a more mysterious idea for an artist than to imagine how nature is reflected in the eyes of an animal? How does a horse see the world, how does an eagle, a doe, or a dog? It is a poverty-stricken convention to place animals into landscapes as seen by men; instead, we should contemplate the soul of the animal to divine its way of sight.” [In: Franz Marc, “How Does a Horse See the World?”, Theories of Modern Art. A Source Book by Artists and Critics, ed. Herschel B. Chipp. Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1996, p. 178.] Marc volunteered to fight in World War I in 1914; he was killed by shrapnel near Verdun in 1916.