Today in 1916, German expressionist painter Franz Marc was fatally wounded at the Battle of Verdun.
Marc enlisted as a cavalryman in the First World War, but by February 1916 had gravitated to military camouflage. After mobilisation of the German Army, the government identified notable artists to be withdrawn from combat to protect them. Marc was on the list, but before orders for reassignment could reach him, he was struck in the head and killed instantly by a shell splinter.
Throughout 1913 and 1914 Marc painted a number of postcards for his close friends. Lucky recipients included fellow artists Wassily Kandinsky, Erich Henkel, Paul Klee, and the playwright and poet Else Lasker-Schüler.
With colours that taste the rainbow every bit as much as Skittles, we think Marc is the greatest animal painter of the 20th century. And these miniatures, which often contain first versions of later paintings, will hopefully convince you too.
For more about the work of Franz Marc, visit our website.
All images used in this post are taken from our book Franz Marc: The Complete Works Volume II, dedicated to Marc’s watercolours, works on paper, sculpture and decorative arts. More details about the catalogue raisonné is available on our website.