Comptes Rendus (March, 1916)

  • Author: Andrew Mangravite
  • Published: April 4, 2016

On March 4, 1916 the world of German art was dealt a devastating blow when Franz Marc, a leader of Der Blaue Reiter school of Expressionism was struck in the head by a shell fragment at Verdun and died instantly.
Ironically the German High Command had belatedly realized the importance of the nation’s artists to its war effort—Marc had already devised ingenious camouflage schemes for use in the field—and had decided to withdraw them from service on the front lines, but the orders for Marc to withdraw came too late.

Franz Marc was best known for his vividly-colored paintings of animals in which elements of representational and abstract art were skillfully blended. One of the last of these, “The Fate of the Animals,” completed in 1913 was accompanied by these lines, “And all being is flaming agony.” Such sentiments were unlikely to endear the artist to a certain corporal and the collection of thugs and second-raters who comprised his Third Reich and so Marc and his work was consigned to oblivion as “degenerate art.” It’s unfortunate that the shrapnel sometimes tears into the wrong head.


Last Modified: April 4, 2016