It represents a group of rural cottages in marshland in the Dachau area of Germany. The scene is somewhat dark and overcast, thus creating a dramatic (though still realistic) feel.
At the time, it would have been a recognisable portrait of the Dachau Marsh area and of the types of buildings, trees and other features of the landscape that could be found there.
Though Marc is especially well known because he helped to found the German Expressionist movement, this painting was created during a more realist phase of his artistic life.
Cottages on the Dauchau Marsh was painted in Germany, whilst Marc was studying at The Academy of Fine Arts in Munich (he would later leave for France in 1903). Marc was around 22 when he worked on this painting, and at that time he was involved in a relationship with an art dealer called Annette Von Eckhardt who was married.
Historically, Cottages on the Dachau Marsh has not gained so much acclaim as other works by Marc, such as Der Blaue Reiter (which is an Expressionist work). This may well be because, historically, Marc became much more famous for his expressionist pieces than for his earlier realist pieces.
Nevertheless, it remains the case that Cottages on the Dachau Marsh provides a compelling depiction of a bygone era. It also represents a very important milestone in Marc's career, when he was working on more realist landscapes whilst he was at art school.