( 1880-1916) German painter; born sit Ried in Bavaria; killed at Verdun. Marc was the son of a landscape painter. In 1900 he decided to become a painter also and enrolled in the Academy. But his attainment of a style that was truly his own was to be long and arduous. He experienced years of deep depression. As early as 1903 a stay in Paris brought him in contact with Impressionism. The Jugendstil, the most advanced movement in Munich, helped him state more clearly the problems of form. On a second visit to Paris, in 1909, he was strongly impressed by Van Gogh.In 1910 he met August *Macke, who became his closest friend, and in the same year he was greatly impressed with an exhibition of Matisse's work in Munich. At the beginning of 1911 he joined the Neue Künstlervereinigung and at the end of the year he joined Kandinsky and others in founding a splinter group, the Blaue Reiter. Between then and 1914, when he left for the war, he produced his best work. Although problems of form occupied him, they were subordinated to his desire to express himself.
He felt an almost religious need, as did Kandinsky, to find through the work of art an objective and spiritual reality beyond the deceptive illusions of Nature. He freed himself only slowly from the wholly subjective sentimentality of his early work. His first step in this direction consisted in the choice of his subject -- animals; beings involved in the universal harmony, capable of bringing the painter to a more objective realization of the world. Marc studied them for years before acquiring a thorough knowledge of their movements. This knowledge enabled him to find the essential form ( Wesensform) in which all their tenderness, innocence and nobility could be contained. Thus The Blue Horse in its youthful vigour, The Roe cowering in a hollow of the wood, the beautiful and dangerous Tiger become, like The Dog before the World, the centre of a universe peculiar to themselves, and thereby they take on the force of symbols, the symbols of communion and peace.
After Pointillist experiments, Marc, having come in contact with Kandinsky and his friends, used colour in a free and expressive manner that recalled the Fauves. But for Marc nearly as much as for Macke the most important influence was Delaunay. In 1913 the coloured forms in his pictures, animals in their setting, began to interpenetrate, the colours brightened and grew more transparent, the forms more crystalline. All living things drew closer and entered into the primal harmony. The large pictures of 1913 attain a mythic force which recalls the painting of the Douanier Rousseau, for whom Marc had a profound admiration. The Destinies of the Animals and The Tower of the Blue Horses are among the most important works of this period. However, the forces conflicting in the cosmic struggle of the large landscape The Tyrol, begun in 1913 and taken up again in 1914 had no further need of animal form to achieve expression. From then on Marc's course led toward an abstractionism bordering upon the play of the pure forces in a still undivided Nature. In the short time that remained before the war he finished a series of abstract compositions, profoundly lyrical ( Broken Forms, Serene Forms).