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Rote Rehe I
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Rote Rehe I
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Rote Rehe I

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About the item

Franz Marc (1880-1916)\nRote Rehe I\noil on canvas\n34½ x 34¾in. (87.6 x 88.3cm.)\nPainted in Sindelsdorf in 1910
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notes

Rote Rehe I is a pivotal work in Franz Marc's artistic corpus. Painted in 1910, the oil is considered a manifesto of the artist's aesthetic and Weltanschauung at the beginning of the second decade of the century. In a letter to Maria Franck early in 1911, Marc splendidly summarises his artistic vision, so lucidly expressed in Rote Rehe I: '... das Bild ist ein Kosmos, der ganz anderen Gesetzen unterliegt als die Natur; die Natur ist gesetzlos, weil unendlich, ein unendliches Neben - und Nacheinander. Unser Geist schafft sich selbst enge und straffe Gesetze, die ihm die Wiedergabe der unendlichen Natur möglich machen. Je strenger die Gesetze sind, desto mehr werden sie die "Mittel" der Natur, die mit Kunst nichts zu tun haben, beiseite lassen; wie Disziplin - uns gesetzlos wirkt ein Zgel, weil seine Gesetze (die er doch auch und sogar in starkem Masse hat) sich an die Kunstlosen "Mittel der Natur" anlehnen. Wie gesetzmässig eine ägyptische Kuh! Der Verfall jeder Kunst begann mit dem Aufgeben der strengen Gesetze, mit der "Naturalisierung" der Kunst. Ich schreibe, wie wenn ich die ehernen Gesetze, von denen ich träume, schon kennte! Aber ich suche mit der ganzen Sensucht meiner Seele und mit allen Kräften nach innen, und eine leichte Ahnung steckt schon in meinen Bildern' (Briefe, Schriften und Aufzeichnungen, edited by G. Meißner, Leipzig, 1980, p. 53). This most lucid passage epitomises the very core of Marc's aesthetic vision: the artist's mission -undertaken with almost religious zeal, or, in Marc's words, with passionate Sehnsucht - is to feel pantheistically the rapture of a life in nature, striving towards an 'animalisation' of art. As F. Levine writes, 'Marc's entire artistic preoccupation, from the winter of 1907 to the winter of 1910, was spent in attempting to give visual expression to what he would now refer to as "the organic rhythm of nature"... Thus, whether in the pastures of Lenggries (1908) or in the mountains of Sindelsdorf (1909)... Marc sought to compose an image of organic rhythm between animal and nature, one that bound them to a unity existing beyond man's conscious comprehension' (The Apocalyptic Vision, The Art of Franz Marc as German Expressionism, New York, 1979, p. 44).

For Marc, the pure visual expression of unity was achieved through the rendition of line and structure, the sharp balance of curved and straight segments.

At the centre of his new iconographic universe and unorthodox aesthetic, Marc put the animal figure, conceived as the image that would make possible the artist's reunion with Nature. His focus on the representation of animals became an almost exclusive obsession from 1910: human figures rarely play any significant role in his mature paintings executed after this date.

1910 was a crucial year for Marc for several reasons. By the summer of 1909 Marc had moved to Sindelsdorf, where he shared a cottage in the mountains with his friend Niestlé. A year later he divorced his first wife and was now seeing and corresponding regularly with Maria Franck, whom he would marry in 1911. Early in 1910, two events occurred which profoundly affected his artistic development: his introduction to the Neue Knstlervereinigung Mnchen, and his meeting with Macke. Under the influence of Franck and Macke that Marc brought his original theoretical system to a more lucid level of visual expression, based on a deeper knowledge of the oeuvre of Van Gogh, Gauguin and Denis.

Rote Rehe I marks a significant stylistic leap forward for Marc. His handling of line and volume and this balanced way in which he marries his subject with this dynamic style is far more successful than we have seen before. Suddenly Marc has launched into the dynamic works of his mature years. Rote Rehe II (Munich, Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, fig. 5), painted only two years later, shows how quickly Marc developed these principles of dynamism in painting. As G. Audinet writes in the catalogue of the exhibition Figures du Moderne. L'Expressionnisme en Allemagne de 1905 à 1914 (Paris, 1993, p. 422), '[Rote Rehe I] paraît... isolé dans la production de cette année. Le rythme donné par les troncs coupant parfois la figure, la rapprocherait de Akte im Freien (Kunstmuseum, Dsseldorf) and Spielende Wiesel (Private Collection) [fig. 2]'.

It is thus through the geometric simplicity of the trees' lines that Marc created, in Rote Rehe I, 'a nature of serenity, a paradise of peace and tranquillity, of innocence and the free play of instinct, a world which, in the final analysis, represents a projection of the artist's own need for escape, his own longings, his own desire for inclusion within the rhythm of the universe' (op. cit., p.46).

Rote Rehe I has a very prestigious provenance, having been amongst the jewels of the collection of Arthur Jerome Eddy (1859-1920), the Chicago lawyer immortalised by Whistler in the famous portrait (1894) now housed at the Art Institute of Chicago. Eddy was a pioneer in collecting German Expressionism in America and undoubtedly influenced the acquisition patterns of Hilla Rebay von Ehrenwiesen, the German artist who, from 1937 to 1952, was the director of the Museum of Non-Objective Painting, the nucleus of the future Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum - where Rote Rehe I was on loan from 1953 to 1963 (fig.1).

title

Rote Rehe I

medium

Oil on canvas

creator

Franz Marc

exhibited

Munich, Moderne Galerie Heinrich Thannhauser, Kollektion Franz Marc, Mai 1911, no. 23.

Munich, Galerie Neue Kunst Hans Goltz, Erste Gesamtausstellung, 1912, no. 90.

Chicago, The Art Institute, Exhibition of Paintings from the Collection of the Late Arthur Jerome Eddy, 1922, no. 51.

Munich, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Franz Marc Ausstellung, Aug.-Oct. 1963, no. 103.

Hamburg, Hamburger Kunstverein, Franz Marc, 1963.

New York, Marlborough-Gerson Gallery, 1968.

Cologne, Galerie Aenne Abels, International Expressionism Part I, 1969, no. 32.

Munich, Haus der Kust, Europäischer Expressionismus, 1970, no. 104.

Paris, Musée d'Art Moderne, L'Expressionnisme Européen, 1970, no. 115.

New York, Serge Sabarsky Gallery (in collaboration with Galerie Aenne Abels), Expressionisten. Bedeutende Gemälde, Aquarelle, Zeichnungen und Skulpturen 17 deutscher Expressionisten, 1972, no. 46.

Paris, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Figures du moderne. L'Expressionisme en Allemagne de 1905 à 1914, Nov. 1992- Mar. 1993, no. 313.

dimensions

34½ x 34¾in. (87.6 x 88.3cm.)

literature

F. Schardt, Franz Marc, Berlin 1936, no. I-1910-10.

K. Lankheit, Franz Marc. Katalog der Werke, Cologne 1970, no. 110, p. 36 (illustrated).

D. Gordon, Modern Art Exhibitions 1900-1916, Munich, p. 233 and 615 (illustrated).

F. Tobien, Franz Marc, Ramerding, 1982, no. 69 (illustrated).

G. E. Gse, Die Gemälde von Franz Marc und August Macke im Westfälischen Landesmuseum Mnster, Mnster, 1982, p. 16 (illustrated).

K. Lankheit, Wassily Kandinsky-Franz Marc, Munich, 1983, p. 244. S. Pagé, Figures du Moderne. L'expressionnisme en Allemagne de 1905 à 1914, Paris, 1993, p. 422 (illustrated).

A. Zweite, 'Franz Marcs Knstlerische Reflexionen 1910/11 und sein Bild "Rote Rehe"', in Meisterwerke I. 9 Gemälde des deutschen Expressionismus, Munich, 1995, p. 68-81 (illustrated).

provenance

Arthur Jerome Eddy, Chicago, (1910-20).

Nierendorf Gallery, New York.

Museum of Non-Objective Painting (Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation), New York (1946).

Galerie St. Etienne, New York.

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (on loan, 1953-1963).

Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Mnchen (on loan, 1963).

Galerie Beyeler, Basel.

Sammlung Aenne Abels, Cologne.


*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.

*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.


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