* 1880 München
† 1916 Verdun
Franz Marc was born in Munich on February 8, 1880. His father is professor at the Munich Academy and draws landscapes in the style of the old masters, as well as interiors and genre scenes in the style of the Munich School. Franz Marc begins his studies of philology and theology at the Munich University in 1899. He changes to the Academy in 1900 and studies painting under Gabriel von Hackl and Wilhelm von Diez.
Franz Marc travels to Paris in 1903 and 1907. He sees works of French impressionists in he galleries Durand-Ruel and Bernheim-Jeune, he imitates paintings by August Renoir, Claude Monet, Edouard Manet, Camille Pissaro et al, but especially works by Toulouse-Lautrec, Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard and most of all Vincent van Gogh fascinate him.
Having returned to Munich, Franz Marc retreats to working on his own. He does pictures of animals that he more and more stylizes, and thoroughly examines the symbolic powers of colors.
He becomes a member of the Neue Künstlervereinigung München (Munich New Artist's Association) in 1909. And moves to Sindelsdorf in Upper Bavaria. His first exhibition takes place in Brakl's Moderner Kunsthandlung (Brakl's Modern Arts Shop) in 1910, the reason for a visit by August Macke and Bernhard Koehler. Koehler and Marc sign a contract granting Koehler purchase options for his works, which makes Marc financially independent.
Franz Marc, Wassily Kandinsky, Gabriele Münter and others leave the Munich New Artist's Association in 1911 and start the artists group "Der Blaue Reiter" (The Blue Rider), exhibitions of which take place in 1911 and 1912. Franz Marc and Kandinsky publish the almanac "Der Blaue Reiter" (The Blue Rider), which can be regarded as a guide to Munich Expressionism.
Franz Marc and August Macke travel to Paris again in 1912, a visit to Robert Delaunay in his studio leaves the artist quite impressed. He makes major contributions to Herwarth Walden's exhibition 'Erster Deutscher Herbstsalon' (First German Fall Salon) in 1913.
The promising career of the young artist abruptly ends shortly after. He volunteers to serve in World War I in 1914 and is sent to France. He is fatally injured by a grenade on March 4, 1916. Among the things found on him was a sketchbook with preliminary studies for abstract paintings that he would never make.