Happy Birthday to Franz Marc, known for his vivid colors + bold lines (and mystic energy!). Born in Munich in 1860, he though of several careers befroe going to art school.
Marc suffered from severe depression from 1904 to 1907. In 1907 he went again to Paris, where he responded enthusiastically to the work of Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, the Cubists, and the Expressionists; later, he was impressed by the Henri Matisse exhibition in Munich in 1910. During this period he received steady income from the animal-anatomy lessons he gave to artists.
In 1910 he met August Macke and through Macke, was introduced to the Fauves and their bold use of color. Macke also introduced him to the collector Bernard Koehler, who happened to be the uncle of Macke's wife. Koehler liked his work, and offered him a monthly allowance, which removed the worst of his financial worries.
In September Marc defended the exhibition of the Neue Kuenstlervereinigung, which was being attacked by the local Munich critics, and was offered membership of the group as a result. He did not, however, meet Kandinsky, its leading spirit, until February 1911.
By that time he had formed his own set of artistic principles, which were a mixture of Romanticism, Expressionism and Symbolism. In December 1910 he wrote a famous letter to Macke, assigning emotional values to colours:
Blue is the male principle, astringent and spiritual.
"Yellow is the female principle, gentle, gay and spiritual. Red is matter, brutal and heavy and always the colour to be opposed and overcome by the other two."
Marc became one of the most important members of the Blaue Reiter and continued to develop as an artist. His promissing career was cut short by WW I - a war which decimeted some of the most creative spirits of the age. How ironic that the sociopathic Hitler survived when so many other, better men did not. (From Edward Lucie-Smith, "Lives of the Great 20th-Century Artists")