Mountains by Franz Marc
Mountains by Franz Marc depicts the stepping stones of a mountain that reach to the orange sun at the summit. Marc’s desire to attain a higher state of spirituality is shown in this expression of wanting to go towards a higher realm.
This painting was first painted in 1911 and was titled “Landschaft” (Landscape). It was then repainted in 1912 after Marc visited Robert Delaunay in Paris as a new version, retitled “Gebirge” (Mountains).
The renewed version was fused with the influences of Orphism, Cubism, and Futurism, making it Marc’s most multi-style painting.
Delaunay’s Orphism, which focused on abstraction and brilliant hues are reflected in Marc’s different color planes, which combine to create a surface of multicolored light.
Cubism is suggested by the fractured, prismatic forms that define the landscape. The thrusting prisms also generate a dynamic, colorful effect reminiscent of Futurism.
Franz depicts a period in his life where he strives for spiritual enlightenment. Exhibited at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, it is representative of an era where art’s purpose was to convey emotions.
Orphism, a term coined in 1912, was an offshoot of Cubism that focused on pure abstraction and bright colors.
It was influenced by Fauvism, the theoretical writings of Paul Signac, Charles Henry, and the color theorist Eugène Chevreul.
Orphism is seen as key in the transition from Cubism to Abstract art, pioneered by artists who relaunched the use of color during the monochromatic phase of Cubism.
Cubism is an early-20th-century art movement that revolutionized European painting and sculpture. The term is broadly used in association with a wide variety of art produced in Paris during the 1910s and throughout the 1920s.
The movement was pioneered by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque and joined by many artists of the period. A primary influence that led to Cubism was the representation of three-dimensional form in the works of Paul Cézanne.
In Cubist artwork, objects are analyzed, broken up, and reassembled in an abstracted form. The artist depicts the subject from a multitude of viewpoints to represent the subject in a greater context.
In France, offshoots of Cubism developed, including Orphism and Abstract art.
Futurism was an artistic movement that originated in Italy in the early 20th century. It emphasized speed, technology, youth, violence, and industrial objects such as the car, the airplane, and the industrial city.
It glorified modernity and aimed to liberate Italy from the weight of its past. Cubism contributed to the formation of Italian Futurism’s artistic style.
To some extent, Futurism influenced the art movements Art Deco, Constructivism, Surrealism, and Dada.
Franz Marc (1880 – 1916) was a German painter and printmaker and one of the key figures of German Expressionism.
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.
Marc showed several of his works in the first Der Blaue Reiter exhibition in Munich between 1911 and 1912. As it was the apex of the German expressionist movement, the exhibit also showed in Berlin, Cologne, Hagen, and Frankfurt.
By 1912, Marc became fascinated by FuturismFuturism and Cubism, and he created art that increasingly was stark and abstract. He painted The Tiger and Red Deer in 1912 and The Tower of Blue Horses, Foxes, and Fate of the Animals in 1913, in the years just before the Great War.
With the outbreak of World War I, Marc was drafted into the German Army as a cavalryman. By 1916, he had gravitated to military camouflage.
His technique for hiding artillery from aerial observation was to paint canvas covers in a broadly pointillist style.
He created a series of nine such tarpaulin covers in styles varying “from Manet to Kandinsky,” suspecting that the latter could be the most effective against aircraft flying above 2000 meters.
The German government identified notable artists to be withdrawn from combat for their safety.
Marc was on the list, but he was unfortunately struck in the head and killed instantly by a shell splinter during the Battle of Verdun in 1916 before orders for reassignment reach him.
- Title: Mountains
- Deutsch: Steiniger Weg (Stony Path)
- Formerly: Gebirge/Landschaft (Mountains/Landscape)
- Artist: Franz Marc
- Medium: Oil on canvas
- Date: 1911 – 1912
- Dimensions: Height: 130.8 cm (51.5 in); Width: 100.9 cm (39.7 in)
- Museum: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
- Name: Franz Marc
- Born: 1880, Munich, Bavaria, German Empire
- Died: 1916 (aged 36), Braquis, France
- Nationality: German
- Notable works:
Franz Marc Quotes
“I never, for instance, have the urge to paint animals ‘the way I see them,’ but rather the way they are… The way they look at the world and feel their being.”‘
“Art has always been and is in its very essence, the boldest departure from nature. It is the bridge into the spirit world.”
“Like everything genuine, its inner life guarantees its truth. All works of art created by truthful minds without regard for the work’s conventional exterior remain genuine for all times..”
“Art is nothing but the expression of our dream; the more we surrender to it, the closer we get to the inner truth of things, our dream-life, the true life that scorns questions and does not see them.”
“Today, art is moving in the direction of which our fathers would never even have dreamed. We stand before the new pictures as in a dream, and we hear the apocalyptic horsemen in the air. ”
“The great artists do not seek their forms in the midst of the past but take the deepest soundings they can of the genuine, most profound of their age.”
Blue Rider Group
Virtual Tour of Museums in San Francisco
- Asian Art Museum – San Francisco
- De Young Museum
- San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
- Legion of Honor Museum
- Walt Disney Family Museum
Franz Marc: A collection of works
“Art will liberate itself from the needs and desires of men.”
– Franz Marc
Photo Credit: Franz Marc [Public domain]; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art / Public domain