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Franz Marc (1880-1916)
A DIALOGUE THROUGH ART: WORKS FROM THE JAN KRUGIER COLLECTION
Franz Marc (1880-1916)

Abstraktes Aquarell II

Details
Franz Marc (1880-1916)
Abstraktes Aquarell II
numbered '39' (lower right)
tempera, watercolor and brush and black ink on paper
8¾ x 6 5/8 in. (22.2 x 16.7 cm.)
painted in 1913-1914
Provenance
Estate of the artist.
Galerie Otto Stangl, Munich.
Henry M. Reed, Montclair, New Jersey (acquired from the above, 1979); sale, Christie's, New York, 14 November 1996, lot 179.
Jan Krugier, acquired at the above sale.
Literature
F. Marc, Skizzenbuch XXX.
A.J. Schardt, Franz Marc, Berlin, 1936, no. II-1914-4.
K. Lankheit, Franz Marc: Watercolors, Drawings, Writings, New York, 1960, p. 54 (illustrated in color).
K. Lankheit, Franz Marc: Katalog der Werke, Cologne, 1970, p. 210, no. 660 (erroneously illustrated under no. 658).
F.S. Levine, The Apocalyptic Vision: The Art of Franz Marc as German Expressionism, New York, 1979, p. 148 (illustrated).
R. Gollek, Franz Marc, exh. cat., Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich, 1980, p. 76 (illustrated; titled Abstrakte Komposition).
A. Hoberg and I. Jansen, Franz Marc: The Complete Works, London, 2011, vol. III, p. 262 (illustrated in color).
Exhibited
Kunstmuseum Basel, 1935.
Hannover, Kestner-Gesellschaft, Franz Marc: Gedächtnisausstellung, March-April 1936, p. 6, no. 104 (titled Abstrakt formen II).
Berlin, Galerie Nierendorf, 1936, no. 57 (titled Abstrkte Formen II).
Munich, Moderne Galerie Otto Stangl and Wuppertal, Municipal Museum, Franz Marc: Aquarelle und Seichnungen, 1949-1950, p. 17, no. 66.
Munich, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Franz Marc, August-October 1963, no. 245.
Kunstverein in Hamburg, Franz Marc: Gemälde, Gouachen, Zeichnungen, Skulpturen, November 1963-January 1964, no. 86.
New York, Hutton-Hutschnecker Gallery, Inc., Kandinsky, Franz Marc, August Macke: Drawings and Watercolors, April-May 1969, p. 73, no. 80 (illustrated in color, p. 74; titled Abstrakte Komposition).
Belgrade, Der Blaue Reiter, 1976, no. 82, p. 91 (illustrated).
Berlin, Galerie Pels-Leusden, Macke--Marc, October 1977-January 1978, no. 52 (titled Abstrakte Komposition).
Berlin, Brücke-Museum; Museum Folkwang Essen and Kunsthalle Tübingen, Franz Marc: Zeichnungen und Aquarelle, September 1989-April 1990, p. 283, no. 175 (illustrated in color; erroneously titled Abstraktes Aquarell I and incorrectly cited as Lankheit no. 659 and Schardt II-1914-3).
Emden, Kunsthalle, Franz Marc, May-July, 1994, p. 227, no. 78 (illustrated).
Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin-Preussischer
Kulturbesitz, Linie, Licht und Schatten: Meisterzeichnungen und
Skulpturen der Sammlung Jan und Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski
,
May-August 1999, p. 314, no. 149 (illustrated in color, p. 315; erroneously titled Abstraktes Aquarell I and incorrectly cited as Lankheit no. 659 and Schardt II-1914-3).
Venice, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, The Timeless Eye: Master Drawings from the Jan and Marie Anne Krugier-Poniatowski Collection, September-December 1999, p. 330, no. 158 (illustrated in color, p. 331; erroneously titled Abstraktes Aquarell I and incorrectly cited as Lankheit no. 659 and Schardt II-1914-3).
Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Miradas sin tiempo: Dibujos, Pinturas y Esculturas de la Colección Jan y Marie Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, February-May 2000, p. 372, no. 170 (illustrated in color, p. 373; erroneously titled Abstraktes Aquarell I and incorrectly cited as Lankheit no. 659 and Schardt II-1914-3).

Lot Essay

Despite the avant-garde influences which he readily absorbed during his trips to Paris before 1910, Marc felt that his painting lacked an essential unity. His friendship with Wassily Kandinsky in Munich helped him to integrate subject, form and color, and in January 1910, he met August Macke, who had already mastered the problem of color, with which Marc still struggled. In this dynamic environment, Marc's painting evolved quickly.

Marc met Robert Delaunay in 1912, as did Paul Klee and Macke, and under the influence of Delaunay, Kandinsky and the Futurists, Marc's art became progressively abstract. The present Abstraktes Aquarell II, from the artist's Skizzenbuch XXX, displays all three influences. The use of pure prismatic color, inter-woven forms and circular structures derive from Delaunay; the repetitive forms echo Futurism, and throughout Marc follows Kandinsky's example of abstaction of the object; in this case, a reference to the elongated form of a swan, heron or other bird, a symbol of prophecy and vision. In his abstract works Marc most clearly approaches his pantheistic ideals.

In early 1914, as Marc moved more deeply into non-objective painting, the angular, splintered shapes derived from Cubism and Futurism gave way to increasingly curvilinear forms. In his last paintings and drawings, executed after the outbreak of World War I, Marc sought to create an entirely organic, non-referential visual reality that expressed spirit, dynamism and flux, which stemmed from an intense romantic idealism and an optimistically transcendent belief in the breakthrough to a new world. At the same time, however, seen in the context of a global cataclysm, they possess a sinister quality in which monumental, impersonal forces irrevocably alter the human and natural landscape, purging it of subject and figurative form, which had been an essential characteristic of European art for centuries.

As with Macke, one can only speculate how Marc's art would have further evolved; he tragically met his death on the front lines near Verdun on 4 March 1916, at age thirty-six.

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