Expressionist February

franz marc german expressionist

Our artist this month is Franz Marc! I chose him because despite his short life and career, he was a major influence in the German Expressionist movement. His work is instantly recognizable – if you’ve seen the painting of blue horses, you’ve seen a Franz Marc painting. Marc’s work was so avant-garde for the time that it was censored by the Nazis – even after his death in World War I. 

expressionist expressionism large blue horses franz marc 1911
Die grossen blauen Pferde (The Large Blue Horses), 1911

That means this month we’re diving into Expressionism! Last month we explored Impressionism. So what’s the difference? 

Both the Expressionists and Impressionists used loose, expressive brushstrokes, and both were somewhat antithetical to previous art movements. In fact, Expressionism stood in stark contrast to Impressionism, choosing unnatural colors and distorted compositions to evoke the feeling of the subject rather than representation itself. 

As such, there are no special colors or palettes we need to use this month. We’re capturing a moment in a different way than we did with Impressionism. The colors will be all about evoking a feeling rather than being representational. So what should the project be? 

Last month I painted my son and our dog. As it turns out, I kind of did the Expressionist thing in the way that I used the colors. But Franz Marc had his own personal color theory, so whatever I end up making will absolutely build off of that. 

Stay tuned! We’ll be talking about all of this a lot more in my next post about Franz Marc and German Expressionism!