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Franz Marc / August Macke. The adventure of the Blue Rider

Exhibition from March 6 to June 17, 2019
Exceptional late nights from June 13 to 17: open until 9pm (last admission 8.15 pm)

This exhibition presents two major figures of German Expressionism and the Der Blaue Reiter [The Blue Rider] movement, Franz Marc (1880-1916) and August Macke (1887-1914). These artists forged a friendship in 1910 based on their shared interest in French art and more specifically in Cézanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin and Fauvism, who they discovered during their time in Paris. Both expressed the same spiritual fascination for landscapes and nature in their initial paintings, often painted "en plein air".
Their paintings took a more radical, stylised turn when they met Vassily Kandinsky in 1911 and founded the Der Blaue Reiter Almanach [The Blue Rider Almanac]. Franz Marc abandoned plein air painting in favour of his famous blue horses which inspired the title of the almanac. While Marc co-edited the Almanach with Kandinsky, August Macke compiled the ethnographic visuals and wrote a study on African masks. Highly active in their field, they also helped organise international avant-garde exhibitions like the ones held in Cologne in 1912, and in Berlin in 1913, while continuing to develop their art. As part of this evolution, Franz Marc turned to Abstract art in 1913 under the influence of the Italian Futurists exhibition and Robert Delaunay’s paintings. Macke, for his part, moved away from Kandinsky’s intellectual spirituality and towards a clearer relationship between humans and nature, particularly during his travels to Tunisia with Paul Klee.
Drafted in 1914, both artists were killed in combat leaving unfinished yet emblematic works that represent the hedonist, colourful and seductive side of German Expressionism.

To plan or complete your visit, go to the detailed presentation of the exhibition.

General curator
Cécile Debray, Chief Curator, director of the Musée de l'Orangerie
Sarah Imatte, Curator, Musée de l'Orangerie


Franz Marc, The Dream [Der Traum], 1912, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

An exhibition in partnership with the Neue Galerie de New York, Museum for German and Austrian Art where the exhibition will be presented from 4 October 2018 to 21 January 2019.

In Media partnership with ARTE, Le Parisien and Les Inrockuptibles.

With the generous support of Crédit du Nord.

This exhibition is part of the programme on European avant-garde painters at the Musée de l’Orangerie, following on from the Apollinaire, the vision of the poet (2016), Dada Africa, Non-Western Sources and Influences (2017) and De Chirico and metaphysic painting (2020) exhibitions.


Guided visits of the exhibition (in French) are held on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays at 4pm from 15 March to 8 June 2019.