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  • Franz Marc
    Feb 8, 1880 - Mar 4, 1916
  • Stables - 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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  • Franz Marc
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  • 1913
    Oil on canvas
    73.5 cm (28.94 in.) x 157.5 cm (62.01 in.)
    Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, United States.

    Stables (1913) was one of the last paintings completed by Franz Marc to feature horses

    These animals had been among the artist's favourite subjects for many years, as he searched for ways in which to use the power of nature to represent emotional and spiritual feelings in his paintings.

    In this he was influenced by early abstract painters such as the Russian, Wassily Kandinsky.

    Marc's religious beliefs were somewhat complex, but generally revolved around pantheism. He felt that there was a natural godliness to animals that had disappeared from human beings long ago, and he sought to depict this in his works.

    By the time he painted Stables, he had come to the conclusion that abstract forms would allow him to link the horses in the picture with nature as a whole, and even with the totality of existence.

    The artist's earlier horse paintings had often seen the animals as being individuals, but in Stables the group of five is portrayed as entirely bound up with the piece's overall design.

    By envisaging the scene as a unified whole, Marc blends the horses themselves and their stable to such a degree that there is little distinction between the two. The colours used - red, white and blue - nevertheless contrast quite strongly with the background.

    By 1913, the Expressionism with which Marc had made his name was being increasingly influenced by artists like Robert Delaunay, as well as the emerging Futurist Movement.

    This can be seen in the use of light and in the vivid, sloping lines of the horses' stalls, as well as the curved outlines of the animals themselves.

    Stables, painted in oil on canvas, is part of the Founding Collection at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

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Other paintings by Franz Marc:

Blue Horse I
Blue Horse I
The First Animals
The First Animals
The Large Blue Horses
The Large Blue Horses
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.