Red Woman, oil painting by Franz Marc

Contributed by New Walk Museum and Art Gallery

Red Woman, oil painting by Franz Marc

One of Marc's last figure paintings before he focused almost entirely on animals.The Red Woman, a striking and powerful image of a nude woman standing in a landscape of semi-abstract shapes and plant-forms. Painted by Franz Marc (1880-1916), the co-founder, with Wassily Kandinsky of the Expressionist art group The Blue Rider, founded in Munich in 1911-12. The woman's arm is raised, almost in worship of her surroundings, which links to Marc's vision of a world in spiritual harmony. Expressionism was pivotal in the evolution of modern art, in the early 20th century. Expressionist artists were united in seeking to penetrate beyond the surface appearance of the everyday, to reveal the innermost meanings of an object. The painting was once part of the great art collection of Alfred & Tekla Hess of Erfurt, Germany, and was first shown in Leicester in the 1944 exhibition 'Mid-European Art'. The exhibition, organised by Trevor Thomas, Leicester's Director (1940-46), enabled Leicester to be among the first UK museums both to exhibit, and actively acquire German Expressionist art. Purchased for the museum from Stefan Pauson (brother of Tekla Hess) in 1944.

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