Matilda (in the style of) Franz Marc


A preliminary painting of Matilda my greyhound and Bird of Paradise flower photos influenced by Franz Marc’s ‘Mews’.

Franz Marc

Appeared: 08-FEB-1880 Disappeared: 04-MAR-1916

Franz Marc enrolled in Munich University (Art) during 1899. Travelling through France, 1903, he viewed Impressionist and Japanese woodcut styles, along with works by Edouard Manet, Paul Gaugain and Vincent Van Gogh. Marc moved towards simplifying forms, solidifying colours and breaking compositional surfaces of his paintings with dynamic rhythms.

In 1908 Marc began including animals within his landscapes. He appreciated the awareness animals show of life. His paintings became more expressive and looked for underlying forms, colours and compositions.


Horse Dreaming 1913, Water colour on paper, 60 x 46 cm, Guggenheim Museum, New York.

In Berlin, 1910, Marc met August Macke and Wassily Kandinsky. He continued stylising his artworks, reducing lines and chance elements. With less natural/local use of colour and more personal meanings for colour use, he worked with rich colours as autonomous elements, distributing them through spaces on his canvas. He was flexible with dimensions and perspectives.



Mews 1913/14, Oil on canvas, 74 x 158 cm, Guggenheim Museum, New York.

A painting of horses in a landscape. Mews has transparent colours and complicated surface arrangements by combining vertical and diagonal straight lines, angular and circular shapes. Simultaneous perspectives and fragmented forms merge. Mews synthesises Marc seeing Sonia and Mark Delaunay’s artworks in Paris and Futurist works in Cologne, 1912. (Mews inspires my preliminary artwork of Matilda.)

Marc continued moving towards abstract style ranges with free compositions. He died as a soldier in the First World War.


Forms in Combat 1914, Oil on canvas, 91 x 152 cm, Staatsgalerie Moderner Kunst, Munich.

Reference: (book) Expressionism (author) Dietmar Elger (publisher) Taschen.

Matilda (in the style of) Franz Marc


Photos of Matilda my greyhound (also a character in my Dog Daze cartoon) and Bird of Paradise flower photos were arranged in a grid on cartridge paper providing a basis for this initial painting. I placed the paper onto a window and traced the photographs with a pencil. Using a ruler I drew the random directional lines (that I see in the photos) throughout the drawing, fracturing and segmenting the shapes. Examples; the directions of where Matilda’s eyes look, continuations of the lounge chair arm edges, lines where walls and floors meet.

This exploratory painting has compositional strengths from the underlying grid, straight lines and rectangular photo shapes. The next painting will be on heavier paper (or canvas). I will loosen the composition by creating more elaborate flower forms, extending them out of the grid and rectangles and merging the shapes and colours.

The painting is also a great idea and outline for a strategy of war.

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Shirley Burley

Artwork Craft Writing Graphic Design Photography

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