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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Franz Marc had a big desire on vivid colours and abstracted forms to create mystically or intellectually intense work

After early attempts with realism and naturalism, Marc later avoided those styles in favour of the greater symbolic of abstraction.

After discovering the work produced by a group of artists who shared similar approaches and techniques, he adopted a more modern way in his work, using clear lines and brilliant colours.

He is known for his images of brilliantly coloured animals, which he used to send deep messages about the natural world and humanity. He was fascinated by horses, and intensely interested in "primitive" people, mentally ill, and children.

Nature and animals were favourable to him. Colour was very important for him. He believed for colour to affect mood, and developed a certain approach of colour symbolism.

He associated yellow with feminine, blue with the masculine, and red with the cruel world.

When living in Berlin, he spend countless hours at the zoo, sketching and studying the forms of animals from every possible angle. Through his disciplined study, he built a general concept of animal and human forms.

The image of the animal continued to become more outstanding in his art, replacing the human for almost entirely.

For Marc, animals were the ideal subject for purity, truth and beauty. He began to see animals as impure as human beings. He portrayed the world as seen through the eyes of animals.

In 1911-12, Marc displayed his works in Munich. His painting of cats illustrate the animals in their natural ambience of sleeping and grooming.

Through his use of purity and main colours, his paintings portrayed a deep sense of affection. His cats illustrated a deeper meaning, when we interpret the blue means spirituality and masculinity, yellow feminine happiness, and red represents violence.

Some of his famous cat paintings are cats on a yellow pillow, two cats, blue and yellow, cat basket, and cats on a red cloth. One of Marc's most famous painting is known as Animals Destinies.

With the eruption of World War I in 1914, Mark united with the German Army as a cavalryman. The German painter died tragically in 1916 at the battle of Verdun. He was only 36 years old. The Nazis deemed his paintings, and after World War II they were again displayed.

During his time his work was highly appreciated. To this day, Marc Franz is considered to be one of the most influential painters to come out of Germany, for the created and unique style and approach he took in his work.