Franz Marc  (1880 - 1916)
Blue Horse I (fragment), 1911
Oil on canvas, 112 x 84 cm
Lenbachhaus, Munich, Germany



The German artist Franz Marc devoted himself to the representation of animals in nature. He believed that only the wildlife world preserves the purity of primordial existence.

Marc strove to create a new art, breaking the limitations and tradition of realistic painting. Though, unlike people, animals appear free of customs and live in direct connection with nature, he wanted to paint the world as animals see it.

After studies at the Munich Academy of Art, Marc traveled to Paris, where he was deeply impressed by the Van Gogh exhibition:

Van Gogh is for me the most authentic, the greatest... painter I know. To paint a bit of the most ordinary nature, putting all one’s faith and longings into it, that is the supreme achievement.... Now I paint… only the simplest things.... Only in them are the symbolism, the pathos, and the mystery of nature to be found.

Just as Van Gogh, Marc developed his own theory of colors and :
gave each color a symbolic meaning: Blue is the male principle, stern and spiritual. Yellow the female principle, gentle, cheerful, and sensual. Red is… brutal and heavy.

Many believe this picture to be a self-portrait. Given his opinion about the color blue and the fact that the horse was his favorite animal, it is clear why Franz Marc portrayed himself as a blue horse.