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The entire Franz Marc catalogue is dominated by portraits of various animals, though each one evokes a unique combination of emotion and mood. In this piece, at first glance, the fox may not immediately appear.
The creatures almost seem to be hidden, and once they are seen clearly, they are fragmented, as though we are silently watching the animals through the shards of a shattered window.
One of the most well-known examples of Marc's cubist paintings, The Fox is a wonderful example of a typical Marc piece. Breaking down realistic, natural forms into abstract, prismatic forms in bold colours.
It was Marc's artistic philosophy that colours spoke an emotional language, almost as though each colour could hit a very specific emotional note. Much in the way that a musician plays a series of notes to play a song that evokes a feeling, Marc aspired to do the same with the carefully chosen colours in each of his works.
This use of colour was largely due to Marc's association with The Blue Riders, a group of like-minded artists, which also included Wassily Kandinsky, that sought a spiritual truth through their art and placed a great deal of importance on the symbolic use of colours.
For Franz Marc, painting animals such as The Fox represented a more innocent time. In his many works of horses, dogs, and foxes, he sought to convey a message about the natural world, its relation to mankind, and their toxic impact on the world.
Animals were a preferred subject for Marc as they brought relief from the pain and tension of modern life. In a horrible twist of fate, Franz Marc would paint his beloved animal subjects until the end of his very short life, which he met on a WWII battlefield at the age of 36.