Bergziegen (Mountain Goats), 1914-16
Maria Marc, Ried.
Otto Stangl, Munich.
Gutekunst & Klipstein, Bern, 1956.
Richard A. Saidenberg, New York, 1956.
Anon. Sale; Christie’s, London, 13 Oct. 1994, lot 136.
Jan A. Ahlers, Herford, acquired at the above sale.
Galerie Arnoldi-Livie, Munich, 2002.
Private Collection, USA, acquired from the above.
A.J. Schardt, Franz Marc, Berlin, 1936, no. 1914/16, p. 168.
K. Lankheit, Franz Marc, Berlin, 1950, p. 48.
K Lankheit, Franz Marc, Katalog der Werke, Cologne, 1970, p. 212, no. 665.
M. Rosenthal, Franz Marc, Munich, 1989, no. 60.
C. Pese, Franz Marc, Aquarelle, Munich, 1990 (illus. p. 37).
A. Hoberg & I. Jansen, Franz Marc: The Complete Works, vol. III, Sketchbooks and Prints, London, 2011, p. 265 (illus. p. 256).
Zürich, Kunsthaus, Neue deutsche Malerei, 21 June – 15 July 1934.
Zürich, Kunsthaus, Marc Chagall, Karl Hofer, Franz Marc, Marianne von Werefkin, 13 Jan. – 13 Feb. 1935, no. 140 (dated 1913).
Bern, Galerie Klipstein, 1935.
Basel, Kunstmuseum, 1935.
Hannover, Kestner-Gesellschaft, Franz Marc: Gedächtnisausstellung, 4 March – 19 April 1936, no. 105; this exhibition later travelled to Berlin, Galerie Nierendorf & Galerie v.d. Heyde, May 1936, no. 60.
Bern, Gutekunst & Klipstein, April 1956, no. 205.
Berkeley, University Art Museum, Franz Marc: 1880 – 1916, 5 Dec. 1979 – 3 Feb. 1980, no. 47; this exhibition later travelled to Fort Worth, Art Museum, 23 Feb. – 13 April 1980 and Minneapolis, Walker Art Center, 4 May – 15 June 1980.
Berlin, Brücke-Museum, Franz Marc, Zeichnungen und Aquarelle, 3 Sept. – 29 Oct. 1989, no. 173; this exhibition later travelled to Essen, Museum Folkwang, 12 Nov. 1989 – 11 Feb. 1990; and Tübingen, Kunsthalle, 29 Feb. – 29 April 1990.
Nürnberg, Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Expressionistische Bilder: Sammlung Firmengruppe Ahlers, 23 Oct. 1996 – 16 Feb. 1997, no. L5.
Laren, Singer Museum, Duitse Expressionisten. Collectie Ahlers AG, 27 March – 14 June 1998.
Dresden, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden-Albertinum, Expressionistiche Bilder, Sammlung Firmengruppe Ahlers, 2000, no. 14.
Munich, Arnoldi-Livie, Kunst in München 1800 – 1914 und weitere Neuerwerbungen, winter 2002, no. 25.
Bergziegen numbers among a group of drawings, watercolours and oils which attest to the gradual development in Marc’s oeuvre towards abstraction. With the publication of Der Blaue Reiter in 1911, and his visit to Paris in 1912, Marc’s style found a new impetus: ‘By late in 1913 Marc was increasingly organising his vision within an abstract vocabulary. A language largely evolved from Kandinsky, Delaunay, and Futurism, as well as Macke’s colour compositions of 1912, this abstract mode unified his subject matter while reducing the melodrama’ (M. Rosenthal, op. cit., p. 36). Marc’s compositions from this period represent a synthesis of abstraction and representation. In Bergziegen the rounded forms of two mountain goats are set amidst a panoply of force lines and transparent planes. Rectilinear planes of colour converge in parallel lines from the lower edge of the composition, suggestive of a mountainous landscape. The overall organisation of the work, uniting animal to landscape, is a rich interplay of the figurative and the abstract.
In early 1914, as Marc moved more deeply into non-objective painting, the angular, splintered shapes derived from Cubism and Futurism gave way to increasingly curvilinear forms. In his last paintings and drawings, executed after the outbreak of World War I, Marc sought to create an entirely organic, non-referential visual reality that expressed spirit, dynamism and flux, which stemmed from an intense romantic idealism and an optimistically transcendent belief in the breakthrough to a new world. At the same time, however, seen in the context of a global cataclysm, these works possess a sinister quality in which monumental, impersonal forces irrevocably alter the human and natural landscape, purging it of subject and figurative form. One can only speculate on how Marc’s art would have further evolved; tragically, he was killed on the front lines near Verdun on 4 March 1916, at age thirty-six.
The work formed part of Franz Marc’s sketchbook no. SK XXX (1913/14), which belonged to Marc’s widow, Maria Marc, and whose estate was handled by Otto Stangl in Munich. The composition is a study for the oil painting Die kleinen Bergziegen, formerly in the Morton D. May Collection.