b. 1880, Munich; d. 1916, Braquis, near Verdun-sur-Meuse, France
Franz Marc was born on February 8, 1880, in Munich. The son of a landscape painter, he decided to become an artist after a year of military service interrupted his plans to study philology. From 1900 to 1902 he studied at the Kunstakademie in Munich with Gabriel Hackl and Wilhelm von Diez. The following year, during a visit to France, he was introduced to Japanese woodcuts and the work of the Impressionists in Paris.
Marc suffered from severe depression from 1904 to 1907. In 1907 he went again to Paris, where he responded enthusiastically to the work of Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, the Cubists, and the Expressionists; later, he was impressed by the Henri Matisse exhibition in Munich in 1910. During this period he received steady income from the animal-anatomy lessons he gave to artists.
In 1910 Marc’s first solo show was held at Kunsthandlung Brackl, Munich; and he met August Macke and the collector Bernhard Koehler. He publicly defended the Neue Künstlervereinigung München (NKVM) and was formally welcomed into the group early in 1911, when he met Vasily Kandinsky. After internal dissension split the NKVM, he and Kandinsky formed Der Blaue Reiter, whose first exhibition took place in December 1911 at Heinrich Thannhauser’s Moderne Galerie, Munich. Marc invited members of the Berlin Brücke group to participate in the second Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) show two months later at the Galerie Hans Goltz, Munich. Der Blaue Reiter Almanac was published with lead articles by Marc in May 1912. When World War I broke out in August 1914 Marc immediately enlisted. He was deeply troubled by Macke’s death in action shortly thereafter; during the war, he produced his Sketchbook from the Field. Marc died on March 4, 1916, in Braquis, near Verdun-sur-Meuse, France.