Zwei Pferde. Verso: Zwei stehende Mädchenakte mit grünem Stein. 1910 /11. Charcoal , India ink and wash on board. Verso: Oil and tempera. Hoberg/Jansen vol. II 182. Lankheit 411. (Verso Hoberg/Jansen vol. I 126). 48.6 x 63.8 cm (19.1 x 25.1 in) , the full sheet. Verso with the painting "Zwei Mädchenakte mit grünem Stein" [EH]. • From the series 'Weidende Pferde' (Grazing Horses). • Only known preliminary work of the destroyed painting. • From the founding period of the 'Blauer Reiter'. • Exceptionally large format.
PROVENANCE: Collection Alexe Altenkirch (since at least 1920). Prof. Dr. Ludwig Thormaehlen, Bad Kreuznach (nephew of aforementioned, presumably inherited, unitl 1955). Collection Emil Georg Bührle, Zürich (acuired from Stuttgarter Kunstkabinett through the agency of the art dealer Benno Griebert in 1955). Galerie Peter Griebert, Munich (1970) Private collection (since 1980).
EXHIBITION: Zeitgenössische Deutsche Kunst, Krefeld 1920, cat. no. 25 (Title: Zwei Mädchen) Nationalgalerie Berlin, multi-annual loan from the possession of Alexe Altenkirch (until late 1928). Franz Marc, Lenbachhaus Munich, 1963, cat. no. 105 Franz Marc - Gemälde, Gouachen, Zeichnungen, Skulpturen, Kunstverein Hamburg November 9, 1963 - January 5, 1964 cat. no. 126.
LITERATURE: Alois J. Schardt, Franz Marc, Berlin 1936, no. 15, p. 166. Stuttgarter Kunstkabinett, R.N. Ketterer, December 1955, no. 1633, color illu. 2 Lothar Günther Buchheim 1959, Der Blaue Reiter und die 'Neue Künstlervereinigung München' 1959, color illu. on p. 144 Hauswedell Nolte, Hamburg, June 1980, lot 834, color illu. on p. 273 Franz Marc - Pferde, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart and Busch-Reisinger Museum, Cambridge, 2000/01, cat. no. 36, fig. 64, illu. on p. 80 Franz Marc - Retrospective, ex. cat. Lenbachaus Munich, 2005, illu. 11, color illu. on p. 82.
In 1910 Franz Marc pursued an entirely new concept of form and color that enabled him to create his iconic expressionistic masterpieces. The starting point of this development lies in Franz Marc’s singular understanding of nature, in particularly in his view of animals. He was on the quest to grasp the animals’ perception of nature: ”Our convention of placing animals in landscapes just due to our perceptional habits ask for it is poor and soulless. Why don’t we try to get into their soul in order feel their pictorial value?“ Franz Marc chose horses as central motif for the implementation of these ideas. Our work 'Zwei Pferde' shows this newly acquired rhythmical realization of the animal figures which found its climax in the painting 'Turm der Blauen Pferde' (The Tower of the Blue Horses', illust. 1) from 1913. The present drawing already reflects the compositional idea that Franz Marc phrased in a letter to Reinhard Piper: ”..The blood that circulates through the two horse bodies is expressed through manifold parallelisms and the vibrating lines. The observer should not even consider asking what kind of breed they are, instead I want him to sense the animal’s trembling inner life.“ What makes this large-size drawing so special is the fact that it is the only preserved preliminary drawing of the destroyed painting 'Streitende Pferde' from 1910 (Hoberg/Jansen vol. I 132; illust. 2). Schardt (cataloug raisonné no. 1910-14) mentions this work with the title 'Weidende Pferde III'. In this painting, which then belonged to Carl Georg Heise, Director of the Hamburger Kunsthalle, Franz Marc achieved his radically new coloring: ”Horses in light red-brown, white-heightened, green mane and tails, the wavy landscape in background in light shades of yellow. Three quarters of the ground greenish, turning into a light crimson in the upper part all the way to the horizon." The four paintings from the same year titled 'Weidende Pferde' (today at the Lenbachhaus in Munich (illst. 3), the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart (illust. 4), Busch-Reisinger Museum, USA (illust. 5) and in a private collection (illust. 6)) share the horse motif as their central theme. Though, our preliminary drawing might only be connected to of them. The present large-scale drawing is simply extraordinary, both for the subject that Franz Marc treasured so much as well as for the fact that it is characterized by the exceptional concept of form that directly led to the unrivaled icon of Expressionism – the 'Turm der blauen Pferde' (The Tower of Blue Horses).