As with many of Marc’s pieces, it demonstrates his interest in capturing nature within his work. Despite other artists of the expressionist movement looking to include complex ideas within their work, Marc’s work has been noted for its simplicity. Here the foxes have been painted without there being any obvious indication that the piece was intended to hold some further complex meaning.

As seen with similar works including animals as the focus, the foxes are painted with bold colours and the shapes distorted. This approach may have been influenced by Marc having met Robert Delaunay in 1912, whose work can be compared with Four Foxes.

Delaunay celebrated the use of abstract shape and bright colours. The focus on using bright orange can be seen in Delaunay’s piece Champs de Mars, La Tour rouge, painted in 1911.

This is not Marc’s only study on foxes. During the same year, Marc painted two similar pieces: Foxes, a watercolour on canvas, and The Fox, an oil on canvas. The trio of paintings share the bold use of orange yet are visibly different examples of how Marc sought to capture the image of the fox.

The watercolour paint in Four Foxes is applied to give more opaque layers of colour than in Foxes and the shapes are more natural than the straight lines employed in the cubist The Fox.

Marc also painted an earlier study, Fox, in 1911 where the fox was painted in shades of purple instead of confidently in bright orange. The development from the 1911 piece to this 1913 piece demonstrates Marc having become braver in his approach to colour and supports the view that Delaunay influenced Marc.