• How Franz Marc Returns

    Jean Marie Carey (see profile)
    Der Blaue Reiter, German Literature and Culture
    20th century, Animal studies, Art history, German history, Painting
    Item Type:
    University of Otago
    biography, Einfühlung, Franz Marc, Nachträglichkeit, domestic animals
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    How can we recover Franz Marc, a central figure of German Modernism, in a way that reveals new interpretations of his life and work? In this doctoral thesis I attempt to answer this question, which neither art historians nor scholars of animal studies have yet tackled in a fully satisfying manner. My goal here is to move toward a biographically- and historically-grounded comprehension of Marc’s leap into the future at the turn of the 20th Century, to appreciate not just the modifications he made to painting but his ambitions to understand the world and the mind of the animal through both scientific observation and imagination. I expand the investigation of Marc to examine the German aesthetic and psychological concepts of Einfühlung and Nachträglichkeit in the frameworks of contemporary art and theory as well as in their continental historicity. I make the embodied process of looking at Marc’s paintings and drawings closely the key subject of my work, and I do so by trying to understand the beliefs and habitudes that enabled Marc to successfully imagine, and to convince us to imagine, the sacred subjecthood of animals. It is in this sense that I intend to contribute to the enterprise of “the return,” experimenting with Hal Foster’s formulation by enacting theory as activity. I aim at restoring Marc to us in the present because his words and images have important ramifications for the way we understand the Tierbild, and the nature of imagination, today.
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    Last Updated:
    2 years ago
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