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  • Franz Marc
    Feb 8, 1880 - Mar 4, 1916
  • Foxes - Franz Marc was a German painter and printmaker, one of the key figures of the German Expressionist movement. He was a founding member of Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider), a journal whose name later became synonymous with the circle of artists collaborating in it. Nearly all works of art created by Franz Marc show animals.
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Foxes
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  • Foxes

  • Franz Marc
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  • 1913
    Oil on canvas
    87 cm (34.25 in.) x 65 cm (25.59 in.)
    Kunstmuseum Dusseldorf, Germany.

    German Expressionist Franz Marc’s painting The Foxes, which was restituted in 2021 to the heirs of Kurt and Else Grawi of Berlin, victims of Nazi prosecution, will be offered at Christie’s in March with an estimate on request in the region of £35 million (US$47 million).

    Marc, considered a father of modernism, was best known for his paintings of animals in vibrant colors. And The Foxes (Die Füchse), painted in 1913, is one of the most brilliant examples, according to Christie’s.

    Other major 1913 paintings by Marc are now in the collections of such museums as the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich, Christie’s said in a news release Friday

    “The Foxes encapsulates everything that we find inspiring about Marc’s work: it has dynamism, sensational color, incredible balance and a spirituality in its sublime subject which completely draws the viewer into the painting,” Jussi Pylkk?nen, Christie’s global president, said in the release.

    The work has been included in some of the most prominent 20th-century collections, including those of German expressionist artist Herwarth Walden and German department store mogul Helmut Horten, who gifted the work to the St?dtische Kunstsammlung, Düsseldorf (The Municipal Art Collection) in 1962.

    Kurt Grawi, a German-Jewish banker living in Berlin, with his wife Else, owned the painting from 1928-1940. When the Nazis rose to power, the family fled Germany in 1938 and smuggled The Foxes out of the country to the U.S. the following year, Christie’s said.

    Grawi sold the painting in 1940 to raise funds to assist his family’s “survival and emigration,” Christie’s said In March 2021, The Foxes was restituted to their heirs from the Kunstpalast Museum in Düsseldorf.

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Other paintings by Franz Marc:

Four Foxes
Four Foxes
The Tower of Blue Horses
The Tower of Blue Horses
Birds
Birds
Blue Horse I
Blue Horse I
Franz MarcFranz Marc was born in Munich, Bavaria. His father, an artist, encouraged him to study art, but Marc studied theology and philosophy before entering the Munich Art Academy in 1900. Marc was a moody young man and had difficulty finding a way to express himself. During his first trip to Paris in 1903, he had his first contacts with the Impressionists, and was particularly impressed with the work of Henri Rousseau. In the following year, contact with the avant-garde "Jugendstil" group in Munich helped him to clarify his own ideas. When he made a second trip to Paris in 1907, he saw the work of van Gogh.

In 1910 he met Macke and Kandinsky, became a member of the "Blaue Reiter" group, worked on their first almanac, and participated in the first Blaue Reiter exhibit in Germany. Marc, who wrote that "matter is something which the human mind suffers, at best, but does not recognize," began to develop his own form of expression in 1912 as the result of a meeting with Delaunay. In his effort to paint the spiritual side of nature, just as Kandinsky sought to paint the spiritual nature of man, Marc painted animals. Within a year he was painting landscapes and was well on the road to abstraction, but whether he would have continued on this path is, again, a matter of conjecture. Marc's career ended abruptly on the battlefield of Verdun in 1916. Our only knowledge of the last two years of his life has come from his notebook, found beside him and filled with nonobjective drawings depicting a world of horror.