Sale: 545 / Evening Sale, Dec. 08. 2023 in Munich Lot 44

Franz Marc
Blaue Kuh, 1913/14.
€ 400,000 - 600,000

$ 420,000 - 630,000

Blaue Kuh. 1913/14.
Inscribed "Nachlaß Franz Marc bestätigt Maria Marc Blaue Kuh 1913" by Maria Marc on the reverse. On fine paper. 16.2 x 15.3 cm (6.3 x 6 in), size of sheet.
Franz Marc originally executed this tempera work in one of his sketchbooks (no. 30) from which they were detached by the estate and - just as it was the case with large parts of his estate - sold through Galerie Otto Stangel. [JS].
• "Blaue Kuh": Museum quality from the days of the "Blaue Reiter".
• Characteristic animal motif from the best creative period.
• Endangered harmony of fauna and flora in strong abstracted forms and liberated expressionist colors.
• Significant exhibiton history: in the 1927 Marc exhibition at Galerie Neue Kunst Fides, Dresden, and in 1936 in the Franz Marc Commemorative Exhibition at the Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hanover.
• Part of the same German private collection for almost 40 years

PROVENANCE: Maria Marc, Ried (from the artist's estate).
Galerie Otto Stangl, Munich (Marc estate number 209)
Professor Gustav Stein, Düsseldorf (1956).
Wolfgang Wittrock Kunsthandel, Düsseldorf.
Private collection Germany (acquired from the above around 1984).

EXHIBITION: Franz Marc. Aquarelle, Zeichnungen, Graphik, Galerie neue Kunst Fides, Dresden 1927, cat. no. 17.
Kunsthaus Zürich, January 13 - February 10, 1935, cat. no. 149.
Kunstmuseum Basel, 1935 (no cat.).
Franz Marc, Commemorative Exhibition at Galerie Nierendorf, Berlin 1936, cat. no. 48.
Franz Marc Commemorative Exhibition, Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hanover 1936, cat. no. 106.
Kandinsky and his Friends. Centenary Exhibition, Marlborogh Fine Art, London 1966, cat. no. 97 (fig., titled "Kuh").
Der Blaue Reiter und sein Kreis, Leonhard Hutton Galleries, New York 1977, cat. no. 54 (fig. p. 24).
Frenz Marc 1880-1916.Gemälde, Aquarelle, Zeichnungen, Graphik, Kunsthandel Wolfgang Wittrock, Düsseldorf 1984, cat. no. 53 (fig. p. 44).

LITERATURE: Annegret Hoberg/Isabelle Jansen, catalogue raisonné, vol.III, seketchbooks and prints, p. 265 (fig.).
Klaus Lankheit, Franz Marc. Katalog der Werke, Cologne 1970, no. 666 (black-and-white fig.)
Christie, Manson & Woods, New York, November 1981, cat. no. 340 (fig. p. 41).

Called up: December 8, 2023 - ca. 18.26 h +/- 20 min.

Franz Marc is a myth: his extraordinary artistic talent, his visionary spirit and his far too early death in World War One, where Marc fell near Verdun at the age of just 36 in 1916 when his outstanding importance for the art of the "Blaue Reiter" and German Expressionism had already been established. The motif of blue, yellow or green horses is considered particularly progressive and characteristic of Franz Marc's artistic work, the best-known examples are the today lost painting "The Tower of the Blue Horses" from 1913 and "Blue Horse I" (Lenbachhaus, Munich) from 1911. It is particularly exemplary of Marc's bold transgression of the object color to an expressionistic color that can be freely assigned to the object and solely depends on the artistic expressive will. His famous painting "Yellow Cow" (1911, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York), which shows the animal in motion in a liberated color but still in a representational landscape scenery, is another prime example of a progressive step that earned Marc a permanent place in modern art history.
Marc's famous animal compositions are considered the highlights of Expressionism. Until 1913, as in "Blue Cow", they dissolved the surrounding landscape into an almost abstract play of form and color, which also demonstrated the closeness of the painting of the "Blaue Reiter to music. With regard to the immediacy of emotional expression, Kandinsky described the connection between painting and music in his work "Concerning the Spiritual in Art", published in December 1911, with the following words: "An artist who has no goal in the, albeit artistic, imitation of natural phenomena, and is a creator who wants and must express his inner world, sees with envy how naturally and easily such goals are achieved in today's most immaterial art - music. [..] This is where today’s quest for rhythm in painting, for mathematical, abstract construction, today’s love of the repeated color, the way the color is set in motion, and so on, comes from.” (W. Kandinsky: Concerning the Spiritual in Art, ed. Bern 1952, pp. 54f.). "Blue Cow" is a beautiful example of mentioned ‘color rhythm’, as it is built up from the repetition of the complimentary colors red and green in the background. It is the rhythm of color and form with which Marc expresses his "inner world" in the present composition, his spiritual-emotional state. After impressionistic beginnings, Marc took a clear turn to Expressionism in 1911, the year the "Blaue Reiter" was founded. In the following years of the group that would disband in 1914 with the beginning of the First World War, Marc was at the peak of his creativity. His best-known works were created between 1911 and 1914, among them "The Tiger" (1912, Lenbachhaus Munich), "Die Füchse " (1913, formerly Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf), "The Tower of the Blue Horses" (1913, lost), “Animal Fates” (1913, Kunstmuseum Basel) and “Fighting Forms” (1914, Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich). Shortly after the war had begun, Marc signed up to volunteer in August 1914. Like many other artists and intellectuals of his days, he initially expected the war to have a cleansing and healing effect on "a sick Europe". However, when Marc received a postcard with a picture of his painting "Animal Fates" (1913) which shows two fleeing green horses and a rearing blue deer in a prism-like forest scene, he wrote to his wife Maria on March 17, 1915: "When I saw it I was completely shocked and terrified. It was like a premonition of this war, gruesome and stirring; I can hardly believe I painted that!" (Susanna Partsch: Marc, p. 76; in: Klaus Lankheit and Uwe Steffen (eds.): Franz Marc: Briefe aus dem Feld. Munich 1986, p. 50). For Marc, the animal world, which existed in harmonious symbiosis with the plant world, symbolized an ideal form of purity, freedom and originality. Hence, his expressionistic animal depictions from the pre-war period must be understood as expressions of his mystically transfigured quest for an ideal of a peaceful concord and absolute harmony, which Marc already perceived as being endangered in "Animal Fates" (1913). The perfect harmony that Marc celebrated in his otherworldly animal depictions always fascinates through the fragility of the unique compositions which all have a subtle notion of danger in common.

Our fascinating composition "Blaue Kuh" also lives from the tension of a harmonious calmness on the surface and the dynamics in the nature of a horned cow that could attack or flee at any moment. In 1916, Franz Marc was selected for the list of Germany's most important artists and exempted from military service. However, on March 4, 1916, he died on his last day of service and left, among other things, the present small work behind in his estate. It was subsequently exhibited in the Marc exhibition at Galerie Neue Kunst Fides in Dresden in 1927, one of the most important galleries of Expressionism in the 1920s, and in 1936 in the Franz Marc memorial exhibition at the Kestnergesellschaft, Hanover. [JS]

Buyer's premium and taxation for Franz Marc "Blaue Kuh"
This lot can be purchased subject to differential or regular taxation.

Differential taxation:
Hammer price up to 800,000 €: herefrom 32 % premium.
The share of the hammer price exceeding 800,000 € is subject to a premium of 27 % and is added to the premium of the share of the hammer price up to 800,000 €.
The share of the hammer price exceeding 4,000,000 € is subject to a premium of 22 % and is added to the premium of the share of the hammer price up to 4,000,000 €.
The buyer's premium contains VAT, however, it is not shown.

Regular taxation:
Hammer price up to 800,000 €: herefrom 27 % premium.
The share of the hammer price exceeding 800,000 € is subject to a premium of 21% and is added to the premium of the share of the hammer price up to 800,000 €.
The share of the hammer price exceeding 4,000,000 € is subject to a premium of 15% and is added to the premium of the share of the hammer price up to 4,000,000 €.
The statutory VAT of currently 19 % is levied to the sum of hammer price and premium. As an exception, the reduced VAT of 7 % is added for printed books.

We kindly ask you to notify us before invoicing if you wish to be subject to regular taxation.