Dear Cleo 18 12 04


Dearest Cleo

It seems a long time since I saw you at the weekend, it probably seems longer to you as you are waiting for both your Birthday and Christmas. Don’t worry the will come round soon enough. I am carrying on with my studies and research and this week’s chosen artist is Franz Marc

Studying this course is a bit like going on the internet and dropping down the next link, but because it involves reading whole books, it is slower and you never get that far away from your original interest. This week I started researching Franz Marc and along the way I have discovered much about August Macke, Wassily Kandinsky, The Blue Rider and German Expressionist painting.

Franz Marc is the painter of abstract animals perhaps most famously the blue horses and the yellow cow. Marc and Macke (Shopping and Turkish cafe’s) collaborated and influenced each other from 1910 to 1914, when they were conscripted in the German army and died in the First World War, Macke in 1914 and Marc in 1916. Kandinsky, (Cossacks and Yellow Red and Blue)who is credited with painting the first truly abstract paintings, although I think myself that this accolade may belong to Hilma af Klint, lived to a ripe old age, dying in France of natural causes in 1944. That probably gets rid of the headlines except perhaps that Marc was the only artist whose work was removed from the Nazi’s Degenerate Art Exhibition at the behest of the German people. If you can get Nazi’s into a piece people sit up straight and pay attention.

German expressionist artists were deep thinkers about their art, the writings of Marc and Kandinsky during the period of the Blue Rider,1911 to 1916 have had profound influence on the direction of Modern art. When artists write about art they write from the heart, critics and philosophers pander to their audience.

I could bore you all night with their observations but I will select just two examples that to me in my studies seem very pertinent. Marc said “Whether you paint the Virgin Mary in Majesty or asparagus does not decide the quality of a picture or its value but it can make one hell of a difference” (Partsch p 76) An artist must chose to paint for himself or his audience representational commissions may pay the bills, but only the art from his soul can guarantee his place in history.

Kandinsky chose to make a distinction between the greater abstraction and the greater realism “The strong abstract sound of physical form does not necessarily demand the destruction of the representational. In the painting of Marc (The Bull) we can see that here, too, there are no general rules. The object can thus fully retain both inner and outer sound and its individual parts may be transformed into independently sounding abstract forms and thereby create a general abstract overall sound.” (Partsch p. 56)

I take this to mean that I can employ colour theory, composition and abstract shapes in a landscape commission, without producing a slavish copy of the photograph. Feel free to keep my work in your attic until after I am dead, just pay for the painting. One day you will be glad that I was the artist who produced a painting rather than a photorealist copy of your photograph.

Amazon has plans to deliver a book on The Blue Rider tomorrow so I may yet write further on this subject. Good luck with your play rehearsals, break a leg.

My Love as always

Mickos xx




Partsch. S, (2016) Franz Marc: Pioneer of abstract painting Kohl: Taschen

Meseure, A. (2018) Macke. Kohl: Taschen

Duchting, H. (2015) Wassily Kandinsky: A Revolution in Painting. Kohl: Taschen

Internet research

All accessed 03 and 04 December 2018