Franz Marc (1880-1916)
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Franz Marc (1880-1916)

Noah mit der Füchsen

Franz Marc (1880-1916)
Noah mit der Füchsen
gouache, watercolour, wash, pen and ink and brush and ink on paper
18¼ x 15¾ in. (46 x 40 cm.)
Executed in 1913
Paul Klee, Munich.
Private Collection, Switzerland.
Anonymous sale, Hauswedell & Nolte, Hamburg, 4 December 1999, lot 1211.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
K. Lankheit, Franz Marc - Katalog der Werke, Cologne, 1970, no. 469, p. 153.
M. M. Moeller, Franz Marc. Zeichnungen und Aquarelle, Stuttgart, 1989, no. 154, p. 281 (illustrated p. 224).
Munich, Münchner Neue Sezession, Franz Marc Gedächtnis-Ausstellung, 1916, no. 141.
Dresden, Galerie Neue Kunst Fides Dresden, Ausstellung Franz Marc: Aquarelle - Zeichnungen - Graphik, October - November 1927, no. 90.
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Lot Essay

Noah mit den Füchsen not only displays Franz Marc's profound love of animals and his extremely modern use of colour, but also his unique interpretation of the European avant-garde, from his fellow members of the Blaue Reiter, to the Italian Futurists and Robert Delaunay's Orphic Cubism. A testimony to the importance of this work is its prestigious provenance: its first owner was Paul Klee. M. Moeller (loc. cit), believes it possible to identify Klee's hand in the proud inscription in the lower margin, 'Original Franz Marc Aquarell'.
Marc's sensitive depiction of animals in stylised landscapes are critically recognised as the most characteristic and personal subjects in his oeuvre. In December 1908 he famously declared that he was working 'towards an animalization of art... People with their lack of piety, especially men, never touched my true feelings. But animals with their true sense of life awakened all that is good in me' (quoted in H.B. Chipp, Theories of Modern Art, Berkeley, 1968, p. 168).
The rare and interesting iconographic contribution of this work is the celebration of man as a 'good force' within Marc's usually exclusive animal kingdom. Not any man, but Noah, the Biblical saviour of animals, an archetypal figure in the artist's Weltanschauung, the only human figure worthy of appearing amongst his preferred creatures. Noah is shown here, compassionately lifting one of the legendary pair of foxes onto the abstract suggestion of an Arc - man and animal are pulled together by a vortex of diagonals and flashes of lines, differentiated only by their respective chomatic dominants, warm red for the animals and powerful, electric blue for Noah.

Executed in 1913, Noah mit den Füchsen reveals the emphatic understanding of colour which Marc developed following his encounter with August Macke in 1910, and with Kandinsky a year later. Like Kandinsky, he developed a personal symbolism for the use of colour, ascribing spirituality and maleness to blue, femininity and sensuality to yellow and materiality to red. The fractured coloured planes in the present work recall Marc's visit to Paris with August Macke in the Autumn of 1912, when they met Robert Delaunay. Delaunay's pioneering exploitation of colour and angular, prismatic cubist planes were to exert a remarkable influence on the German Expressionists.
This trip may well have been prompted by the first Blaue Reiter exhibition, held at Galerie Thannhauser in Munich from 18 December 1911 to 3 January 1912, where works by Marc, Macke, Kandinsky, Münter and Campendonk hung alongside five canvases by Robert Delaunay. After Munich, this seminal exhibition toured various places in Germany, and opened in Berlin in March at the first Sturm show. Herwarth Walden added, for this new venue, works by Kubin, Jawlensky, Werefkin, and Paul Klee.


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