Although Marc died at the young age of thirty-six, when struck by a shell fragment at the Battle of Verdun, he is regarded as possibly the most influential of all German painters and is highly regarded among his peers for his creative and unique style.
Although he only had a short life, Franz Marc was one of the major contributors to the German Expressionist movement in the early 1900’s. Born in Munich in 1880, Marc was the son of the well-known landscape painter Wilhem Marc from whom the younger Marc took his earliest influences.
In 1900 Franz Marc enrolled at Munich’s Academy of Fine Arts where he studied under notable artists Wilhelm von Diez and Gabriel von Hackl.
These artists had a huge influence on Marc and he was later to develop an affinity for the works of Dutch maestro Vincent van Gogh. Many of Franz Marc's paintings such as The Tiger, Blue Horses and The Golden Cow are abstract and impressionist but works such as the Siberian Sheepdogs are more mainstream and traditional.
What is most notable about Siberian Sheepdogs is the minimal use of color and the use of contrasting shades to present a distinct image of white dogs against a white background. Using a palette of basically blue, yellow and white, Marc skilfully used the three colors to bring the white sheepdogs to the fore but without being blurred against their snowy background.
Marc used the yellow sparingly as a highlight to outline the dogs and bring them to life while varying shades of blue are used for shadows and give the painting depth. Simplistic in style and using shades and tones to great effect, Marc’s “Siberian Sheepdogs” painting is acknowledged as one of his finest non-impressionist works.