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The Relationship between Colour and Form in the Art of Franz Marc

Abhishek Kumar

February 08, ON THIS DAY

Serious art has been the work of individual artists whose art has had nothing to do with style because they were not in the least connected with the style or the needs of the masses. Their work arose rather in defiance of their times.

Franz Marc

Franz Marc was a German painter and printmaker, and one of the key figures of the German Expressionist movement. He was known for his use of bold, bright colours and abstract forms in his paintings, which aimed to express the spiritual essence of the natural world. In Marc’s work, colour and form were intertwined and held equal importance. He believed that colour could evoke emotions and convey spiritual messages, and that form could serve as a representation of the inner essence of the subject. Marc’s use of colour was inspired by the ideas of Wassily Kandinsky, who believed that colour had a language of its own, separate from its descriptive function. In Marc’s paintings, colour and form worked together to create a harmonious whole, with each element serving to enhance the other.

Franz Marc

Born to a middle-class family in Munich, Marc studied art at the Munich Academy and then at the Academie Julian in Paris from 1902 to 1903. In 1907 he became involved with the New Munich Secession and was a founding member of the Der Blaue Reiter group in 1911. This group of German and Russian expressionist painters sought to express a spiritual content in their works and they were heavily influenced by the work of Wassily Kandinsky.

Marc is best known for his paintings of animals, which he saw as symbols of innocence and purity. He depicted animals in a highly stylized and simplified manner, using bright, bold colours and abstract forms to convey their spiritual essence. He was also interested in the relationship between colour and form, and believed that they worked together to express the emotional and spiritual aspects of the natural world.

Rehe im Walde (II), Deer in the Forest II (1914)

In addition to his interest in the spiritual aspects of colour, Marc also used colour symbolism in his work. He often assigned specific colours to represent different emotions and qualities, such as blue for spirituality and red for violence. This use of colour symbolism helped to create a sense of unity and coherence within his compositions, as well as reinforcing the emotional and spiritual themes he sought to convey.

Marc’s abstract forms were also inspired by his love of nature and animals, which he depicted in a highly stylized and simplified manner. He saw animals as pure and innocent, and sought to capture their spiritual essence in his paintings. His forms were often composed of simplified shapes and curves, which gave his work a sense of fluidity and movement.

The relationship between colour and form was of great importance to Franz Marc, who believed that they worked together to convey the spiritual essence of the natural world. His bold use of colour and abstract forms helped to create a harmonious whole, in which each element served to enhance the other and reinforce the emotional and spiritual themes of his work.

Franz Marc painted Yellow Cow to honor his wife, Maria Franck.

Marc was killed in 1916 while serving in the German army during World War I. His death was a great tragedy for the German expressionist movement and his works were largely forgotten until the 1950s. Marc’s works are characterized by bold colours and simplified forms. He often used animals to symbolize emotions and ideas. His most famous works include The Tower of Blue Horses (1913), The Temptation of St. Anthony (1912-14) and Fate of the Animals (1913). He also wrote several theoretical texts on art and aesthetics, including The Notebooks of Franz Marc. Marc’s works have been widely influential and are now considered to be among the most important works of German expressionism. They have had a profound impact on subsequent generations of artists, inspiring movements such as abstract expressionism and neo-expressionism.


  1. https://study.com/learn/lesson/franz-marc-paintings-artwork-biography.html
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franz_Marc
  3. https://www.theartstory.org/artist/marc-franz/
  4. https://www.franzmarc.org/
  5. https://artincontext.org/franz-marc/