© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
Franz Marc, German (Munich, Germany 1880 - 1916 Verdun, France)
Grazing Horses IV (The Red Horses)
Other Titles
Original Language Title: Weidende Pferde IV (Die Roten Pferde)
Work Type
Level 1, Room 1500, Modern and Contemporary Art, Art in Germany Between the Wars
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Physical Descriptions
Oil on canvas
121 x 183 cm (47 5/8 x 72 1/16 in.)
framed: 136.5 x 198.1 x 5.1 cm (53 3/4 x 78 x 2 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • gallery label: t.l. stretcher (verso), paper (torn), ink, printed, English: Three Red Horses, 1911, Franz Marc, oil, no. 2431, owner Mr...
  • exhibition label: t.l. stretcher (verso), paper, ink, printed, English: Loan label: 34 55, Geier, 120 x 183
  • inscription: t.l stretcher (verso), wite chalk, handwritten: K87
  • stamp: t.c. canvas (verso), ink, German: Museum Folkwang
  • label: t.c. stretcher (verso), paper, ink, printed, Italian: Comune di Firenze, XXVII Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Mostra dell’Espressionismo; Provenance: Paul E. Geier, Roma; Autore: Franz Marc; Titolo: Rote Pferde; Cassa: 149
  • exhibition label: t.c. stretcher (verso), paper, ink, printed, German: Haus der Kunst München, Entartete Kunst, 18.10-16.12.1962, Marc, Die Roten Pferde, 1911, Paul E. Geier, Rom, öl/Lwd. 121 x 183
  • label: t.c. stretcher (verso), paper, graphite(?), handwritten: L55.74 Franz Marc
  • label: t.r. stretcher (verso), paper, ink, print, printed, typed, English: S.E. no. 2656 [#s typed], Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Spec. Loan Exhibition of European Masters [typed]
  • label: t.r. stretcher (verso), paper, ink, printed, English: The Red Horses, Franz Marc, Mr. & Mrs. Paul E. Geier, 2301 Grandview Avenue, Cinncinati, OH
  • label: t.r. stretcher (verso), paper, ink, printed, handwritten, typed, Italian: Flli L & R Piconi, Imballatori di Oggetti d’Arte, Roma. N [typed] 0.1 [handwritten]
  • stamp: t.r. canvas (verso), ink, German: Museum Folkwang Essen
  • stamp: c.r. stretcher (verso), ink: [circular shape; unreadable]
  • stamp: c.r. stretcher (verso), ink: [diamond-shaped stamp; unreadable except for] Roma
  • stamp: center canvas (verso), ink: [difficult to read]
  • inscription: center stretcher (verso), blue crayon, handwritten: CNM 12 [12 underlined]
  • inscription: center stretcher (verso), white chalk, handwritten: K87[?]
  • label: center stretcher (verso), paper (torn), ink, printed, German: Knauer[...] 7716 [...]st-Abteilung
  • label: c.l. stretcher (verso), paper, ink, printed: Cinncinnati Art Museum, 1983-97 loan
  • stamp: c.l. canvas (verso), ink, Italian: Dogana di Brennero Sezione Ferrovia
  • stamp: l.c. canvas, ink, Italian: Dogana di Brennero Sezione Ferrovia
  • stamp: t.l. canvas (verso), ink, Italian: Dogana di Brennero Sezione Ferrovia
  • stamp: t.l.canvas (verso), ink: [circular-shape; unreadable]
  • stamp: t.l. canvas (verso), ink: [diamond-shaped; unreadable]
  • inscription: l.l. stretcher (verso), red crayon, handwritten, German: Herrn Marc
  • inscription: l.l. stretcher (verso), white chalk, handwritten: K87
  • stamp: l.c. stretcher (verso), ink, German: Museum Folkwang Essen
  • stamp: t.l.stretcher (verso), ink, German: Museum Folkwang Essen
  • label: t.l. frame (verso), paper, ink, red crayon, printed, handwritten: Printed: K.V.H.; handwritten in red crayon through label: x
  • label: t.l. frame (verso), paper, ink, red crayon, printed, handwritten: Stamped: av Knauer, 327; handwritten in red crayon through label: x
  • label: t.r. frame (verso), paper, ink, graphite(?), printed, handwritten: Handwritten and underlined twice: P.E.G.; printed: 3711
  • label: t.r. frame (verso), paper, ink, printed, handwritten, English: To: Folkwang Museum Essen [handwritten]
  • inscription: t.r. frame (verso), blue crayon, handwritten: Obscured inscription [51cm long]
  • inscription: l.c. frame (verso), graphite(?), handwritten: Case #[...]
  • inscription: l.c. frame (verso), graphite(?), handwritten: [obscured handwriting]
The artist, 1911, sold; to the Folkwang Museum (Hagen, later Essen, Germany, 1911-1937); removed from the collection by the National Socialist (Nazi) authorities,1937, consigned; to [Theodor Fischer Gallery, Lucerne, Switzerland, for sale June 30, 1939, lot 87;] sold [through Steinmeyer] to Paul E. Geier (1939-1981) by descent; to Gabriele Geier, (1981-2012); Estate of Gabriele Geier (2012-2014) bequest; to the Busch-Reisinger Museum, 2014.

See Barron, et. al. for information on Steinmeyer, p. 146. n.21.

This painting was on loan to the Busch-Reisinger Museum from 1991-2014.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Bequest in memory of Paul E. and Gabriele B. Geier
Accession Year
Object Number
Modern and Contemporary Art
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Label Text: 32Q: 1500 Art in Germany Between the Wars (Expressionism-Interwar) , written 2014
In 1911, deep in discussions with other members of the expressionist group Der Blaue Reiter and preoccupied with questions of color, Marc began work on Grazing Horses IV. Wishing to give form to inner experience and to free himself from formal constraints imposed by the outside world, he aimed to detach color from its descriptive function and assigned each primary color a specific symbolic value. As this painting’s numeric title suggests, Marc returned repeatedly to the horse as a subject. He became well known for his preoccupation with animals, seeing them as the embodiment of a better, purer world, the bringers of spiritual renewal to Western culture.
Grazing Horses IV became the artist’s first work to enter a museum collection, the same year it was made. Like Heckel’s triptych and Kirchner’s self-portrait nearby, the painting first belonged to the Folkwang Museum in Hagen (later in Essen), which was at the vanguard of contemporary art collecting in Germany at the time. The painting was removed from the collection in 1937 as part of the National Socialist campaign to rid German museums of “degenerate art.”

Publication History

Alfred H. Barr, Jr. and Ernst Rathenau Verlag, Die Wirkung der deutschen Ausstellung in New York, Museum der Gegenwart; Zeitschrift der deutschen Museen für neuere kunst (Berlin, 1931), Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 58-74, p. 59, ill. (b/w)

Alfred H. Barr, Jr., Modern German Painting and Sculpture, exh. cat., ed. Museum of Modern Art, New York, W. W. Norton & Company (New York, New York, 1931), p. 29, cat. no. 55, b/w ill. no. 55

Franz Marc, brochure, Buchholz Gallery (New York, 1940), p. 1, cat. no. 3, ill.

Georg Ehrhart, Franz Marc oder De abstrakte kunst, Reclam-Verlag (Stuttgart, 1949), pp. 16-17, ill.

Perry T. Rathbone, European Masters of Our Time, exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Boston, MA, 1957), p. 22, fig. 33, ill. (b/w)

Peter Selz, German Expressionist Painting, University of California Press (Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA, 1957), pp. 202, 248, plate 80, ill.

Klaus Lankheit, Franz Marc: Katalog der Werke, Verlag M. DuMont Schauberg (Cologne, 1970), p. 43, no. 131, ill.

Frank Nicolaus, Als Hitlers Kunst-Schergen kamen, Art (Hamburg, 1987), October, 1987, pp. 77-85, p. 77, ill. (color)

Jan Tschichold, Die Neue Typographie: Ein Handbuch fur Zeitgemass Schaffende, Verlag Brinkmann & Bose (Berlin, 1987), p. 36, ill.

Mark Rosenthal, Franz Marc, Prestel (Munich, 1989), fig. 14, ill.

Horst G. Ludwig, Vom Blauen Reiter zu Frisch gestrichen, Hugendubel (Munich, 1997), p. 65-66, fig. 55, ill.

Anke Schlecht, Art Compass: Franz Marc, brochure, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart (Stuttgart, 2000), p. 7, ill. (color)

Christian von Holst, Franz Marc Horses, exh. cat., Hatje Cantz (Stuttgart, Germany, 2000), Cover, 11, 34, 84-85, ill. (color)

Mark Abbe, "Walker celebrates 'Horses' of a different color", Star Tribune (Minneapolis, 2001), April 8, 2001, pp. F1, F18, p. F18, ill. (color)

Helmut Meyer and Gudrun Meyer, Pferde anders aufgezäumt: Streifzüge durch die Natur- und Kinstgeschichte, Schluetersche GmbH & Co. KG (Hannover, Germany, 2002), p. 94-95 / fig. 22

Peter Nisbet and Joseph Koerner, The Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums, ed. Peter Nisbet, Harvard University Art Museums and Scala Publishers Ltd. (Cambridge, MA and London, England, 2007), p. 6

Stephan Wolohojian, ed., Harvard Art Museum/ Handbook, Harvard Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 2008), p. 296, ill.

"Das schoenste Museum der Welt" Museum Folkwang bis 1933, exh. cat., Steidl and Edition Folkwang (Essen, 2010), pp. 100-101, 221-222, 352, 361, fig. 69, ill. (color)

Martin Bailey, "'Degenerate' art reunited: Folkwang rehangs paintings that made Hitler see red", The Art Newspaper (London, England, 2010), No. 212, p. 15, p. 15, ill. (color)

Gina Thomas, "Museum Folkwang", Burlington Magazine (London, England, 2010), Vol. CLII, No. 1289, pp. 566-567, p. 566, fig. 67

Seine Augen trinken alles: Max Ernst und die Zeit um den Ersten Weltkreig, exh. cat., Max Ernst Museum Bruhl des LVR (Bruhl, Germany, 2014), p. 44, fig. 3, ill. (color)

Andrea von Hedenstroem and Lynette Roth, Franz Marc: Zwischen Utopie und Apokalypse, exh. cat., Franz Marc Museum (Berlin, 2016), pp.84-95, ill. (color)

Exhibition History

Kollektion Franz Marc, Moderne Galerie Thannhauser, 05/01/1911 - 05/31/1911

Franz Marc Gedachtnis-Ausstellung, Munchner Neue Sezession, 01/01/1916 - 12/31/1916

Gedachtnis-Ausstellung Franz Marc, Nationalgalerie Berlin, 01/01/1922 - 12/31/1922

Gemalde und Plastiken moderner Meister aus deutchen Museen, Galerie Fischer, 01/01/1939 - 12/31/1939

Franz Marc, Buchholz Gallery, 11/11/1940 - 12/07/1940

Artists of the Blaue Reiter: Exhibition of Painting and Graphic Works, Busch-Reisinger Museum, 01/21/1955 - 02/24/1955

European Masters of Our Time, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Boston, 10/10/1957 - 11/17/1957

Franz Marc Gemalde, Gouachen, Zeichnungen, Skulpturen, Kunstverein Hamburg, 11/09/1963 - 01/05/1964

A Decade of Collecting: Recent Acquisitions from the Busch-Reisinger Museum, Central and Northern Art and Design from 1880 to the Present, Harvard University Art Museums, Busch-Reisinger Museum, 04/19/2000 - 07/09/2000

Franz Marc, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Stuttgart, 05/27/2000 - 09/10/2000

Franz Marc and the Blue Rider, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 04/08/2001 - 07/15/2001

Retrospective exhibition of the work of Franz Marc (1880-1916), Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich, 09/17/2005 - 01/08/2006

Re-View: S427 Impressionist & Postimpressionist Art, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 08/02/2008 - 06/18/2011

"The Most Beautiful Museum in the World" Museum Folkwang until 1933, Museum Folkwang Essen, Essen, 03/20/2010 - 07/25/2010

32Q: 1500 Art in Germany Between the Wars (Expressionism-Interwar), Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/01/2014 - 04/05/2016; Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/26/2017

Franz Marc - Zwischen Utopie und Apokalypse, Franz Marc Museum, Kochel am See, 06/12/2016 - 09/11/2016

Related Works

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Modern and Contemporary Art at am_moderncontemporary@harvard.edu