Sale: 550 / Evening Sale, June 07. 2024 in Munich Lot 36


Franz Marc
Liegender Hund (Hundeporträt von "Russi"), 1909.
Oil on canvas
€ 300,000 / $ 324,000
€ 381,000 / $ 411,480

(incl. surcharge)
Liegender Hund (Hundeporträt von "Russi"). 1909.
Oil on canvas.
Signed and dated in lower left. 65.5 x 80 cm (25.7 x 31.4 in).

• Franz Marc found his artistic fascination for the nature of animals through his intimate relationship with his dog "Russi".
• Color as a medium of expression: Franz Marc uses a tender palette to portray the dog in a peaceful sleep.
• Shown in the first solo exhibition (1910, Brakls Moderne Kunsthandlung, Munich), considered a key moment in his artistic career.
• The work became part of the important collection of Bernhard, Franz Marc's main patron, as early as 1910.
•Impressive exhibition history

PROVENANCE: Bernhard Koehler, Berlin (since 1910)
Bernhard Koehler Jr., Berlin /Gauting (inherited from the above).
Art dealer Franz Resch, Gauting (presumably from the above).
Georg Schäfer, Schweinfurt.
Galerie Hans-Joachim Sander, Darmstadt.
Galerie Michael, Heidelberg/ Rottach-Egern.
Private collection (acquired in 1994).

EXHIBITION: Kollektion Franz Marc, Brakls Moderne Kunsthandlung, Munich, February 1910, cat. no. 60.
Franz Marc - Pierre Girieud, Moderne Galerie Heinrich Thannhauser, Munich, 1911, cat. no. 15.
Neue Secession, Berlin, Leonhard Tietz im Kunstsalon, Düsseldorf, January - February 1913.
Neue Secession, Franz Marc Gedächtnis-Ausstellung, Munich, September 14 - October 15, 1916, cat. no. 43.
Franz Marc - Gedächtnis-Ausstellung, Wiesbaden, March/April 1917, cat. no. 13.
Gedächtnis-Ausstellung Franz Marc, Nationalgalerie Berlin, 1922.
Franz Marc. Gedächtnis-Ausstellung, Galerie Nierendorf and Galerie von der Heyde, Berlin, until May 3, 1936, cat. no. 82.
Franz Marc Ausstellung, Goetheschule Wolfsburg, organized by Franz Resch in cooperation with the VW works, May 11 - 18, 1952, cat. no. 4.
Aufbruch zur Modernen Kunst, Haus der Kunst Munich, June 21 - October 5, 1958, cat. no. 1068.
The Blue Rider Group, An exhibition organised with the Edinburgh Festival Society by the Arts Council of Great Britain, The Tate Gallery London, September 30 - October 30, 1960/ Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh, cat. no. 170.
Der Blaue Reiter und sein Kreis, Österreichische Galerie, Vienna, August 2 - September 24, 1961, Neue Galerie der Stadt Linz, September 30 - October 29, 1961, cat. no. 14.
Der Blaue Reiter und sein Kreis, Kunstmusuem Winterthur, April 23 - June 11, 1961, cat. no. 24.
Franz Marc, Städtische Galerie im Lehnbachhaus, Munich, August 10 - October 13, 1963, cat. no. 55.

LITERATURE: Alois Schardt, Franz Marc, Berlin 1936, cat. no. I-1909-9.
Klaus Lankheit, Franz Marc. Katalog der Werke, Cologne 1970, cat. no. 79 (illu. in black and white).
Annegret Hoberg, Isabelle Jansen, Franz Marc. Catalogue raisonné, Munich 2004, vol. I, no. 83.
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Franz Marc, Briefe aus dem Feld, Berlin 1941 (illu. in black and white, opposite p. 132, titled "Mein Hund").
Christies's, London, June 1978, lot 5 (illu. in color on p. 11).
Christie's, London, Impressionist and Modern Paintings and Sculpture, Dezember 1991, lot 20.
Christie's, London, May 1993, lot 515 (illu. on p. 216).

The Siberian shepherd dog 'Russi', had initially lived with Sophie Marc, the artist's mother, in Munich-Pasing. After she had lost her husband, she gave up her house and moved into a boarding house, while her big dog found a new home with Franz Marc, who already had a cat named Ruth. The artist made both animals subject of his drawings and paintings. "Back then, faithful Russi was more attached to his mother than to Franz - he was a strange animal in general, headstrong and difficult to control. You could tell a lot of stories about him. He never quite forgave his mother for not keeping him with her, even though he grew very attached to Franz later on. Even years later, when we had already moved to Sindelsdorf, he never really welcomed Marc's mother when she came to visit. So Russi stayed with us, and now there were four of us. I did enjoy that a lot, although I had never lived around animals that close. It was wonderful for Franz for two reasons: he painted the two animals and they kept him company when I wasn't there, also around Christmas," Maria Marc recalls. (Maria Marc, Mein Leben mit Franz Marc, Munich 2016, pp. 106f.)
In 1909, Russi became the artist couple's spirited and boisterous four-legged companion and was often - as in the present work - depicted by his new master; his sketchbooks are filled with drawings of Russi and his cat Ruth. This is also the case with this scene from his studio in Munich, showing Russi peacefully sleeping, his white fur slightly contrasting the pastel carpet. Franz Marc plays with delicate stripes of color, switching from a blue interspersed with red to a red interspersed with blue and softening this dominance with a yellow interspersed with green. And he lends the dog's white coat an animated nature with a few yellow splashes and contours. Marc brings the animal with the yellow collar remarkably close to the viewer, using almost the entire format to capture 'Russi', while his tail is partly outside the format in right. For the depiction of the dog, as well as for portraits of other animals from a short distance, Franz Marc makes use of the academic discipline of portrait painting. With the portrait of the sleeping dog, Franz Marc thus left his academic path, having previously studied the great masters Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin and other French Impressionists during his second trip to Paris in 1907 and, with the impressions he gained, approached his very personal view of the organism of nature. It was not before 1910, that Marc would intensively deal with Paul Cézanne, who had died the previous year: Julius Meier-Graefe released a first comprehensive monograph on the introverted Frenchman at the publishing house Piper, and in September Marc told Reinhard Piper about his first analysis of Cézanne's unusual compositions. Next to the still lifes, it was Cézann's concept of figures that inspired Franz Marc to transfer to his pictorial world. Among them the view of the animal's back in close proximity to the observer, which allows us to share sight and contemplation of nature. Paintings such as "Horse in the Landscape" from 1910 at the Folkwang Museum or "The White Dog (Dog before the World)" from 1912 and part of a private collection in Switzerland (fig.) are striking testimonies to Franz Marc's view of nature through the eyes of the animal. "I would like to know what is going on in the dog now", Franz Marc wondered curiously. (
"The countryside was especially pleasant for our dog.", said Maria Marc, describing everyday life in Sindelsdorf. "We took him for walks every afternoon, something Franz insisted on with great consistency. Russi was already under the table close to Franz when we had breakfast in the morning. He was not allowed to beg for food, that was strictly forbidden. But Franz tried to get around the ban by suddenly standing up and secretly 'dropping' something for Russi." (ibid., p. 116).
And Franz Marc even worried about his dog in the miserable situation on the front in France, writing to his wife Maria on February 7, 1916: "Darling, today just briefly regarding Russl; I will write to Lina [housemaid] to give Rußl away, to Schneiderhans or Schuster or someone else in the village. She should then bring him treats from time to time. I'll gladly pay a small pension for the good old fellow. She shouldn't keep him under any circumstances. If there is no suitable way to retire him, then Schuster should give him an honest bullet - it's better if neither I nor you are there. But the last time I saw him he had grown so old that a quick death is really no cruelty." (quoted from Klaus Lankheit, Franz Marc. Briefe aus dem Feld, Munich 1982, p. 142) Four weeks later, on March 4, 1916, Franz Marc was killed by a shrapnel during a patrol between Braquis and Herméville in the Battle of Verdun. [MvL]

Franz Marc
Liegender Hund (Hundeporträt von "Russi"), 1909.
Oil on canvas
€ 300,000 / $ 324,000
€ 381,000 / $ 411,480

(incl. surcharge)