Franz Marc (February 8, 1880 – March 4, 1916) was a German painter and printmaker, one of the key figures of the German Expressionist movement. He was a founding member of Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider), a journal whose name later became synonymous with the circle of artists collaborating in it.
Franz Marc was born in 1880 in Munich, then the capital of the Kingdom of Bavaria. His father, Wilhelm, was a professional landscape painter; his mother, Sophie, was a strict Calvinist. In 1900, Marc began to study at the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich, where his teachers included Gabriel von Hackl and Wilhelm von Diez. In 1903 and 1907, he spent time in France, particularly in Paris, visiting the city's museums and copying many paintings, a traditional way for artists to study and develop technique. In Paris, Marc frequented artistic circles and was able to meet artists, including the actress Sarah Bernhardt. He discovered a strong affinity for the work of Vincent van Gogh.
During his twenties, Marc was involved in a number of stormy relationships, including a years-long affair with Annette Von Eckardt, a married antique dealer nine years his senior. He married twice, first to Marie Schnuer, then to Maria Franck...
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