Animals are at the centre of Franz Marc’s paintings. For him, they embodied an original state of harmony with creation. To illustrate their pure and peaceful nature, he often depicted them lying on the ground, sleeping. This painting shows his own dog, the white shepherd mix Russi. The work marks a stylistic shift away from lifelike renderings towards experimentation with colour and form. Here, he was particularly interested in how the perception of the white tones in the fur changes against the likewise white snow cover, and how the colours influence each other. The dog’s stylised form is inspired by the Cubists’ angular design, which Marc had previously seen in exhibitions.
This popular painting by Franz Marc of a dog lying in the snow joined the museum's collection twice. The first occasion was when it was purchased from the painter's widow in 1919, after which it hung in the modern section until 1937. The National Socialists removed it from the collection together with seventy-six other works as part of their confiscation of "degenerate art", but in 1961 the opportunity presented itself to acquire the work, by then in a private American collection, for the second time. The purchase price of 175,000 marks was almost three times higher than the previous top price paid by the Städel for modernist art - but after a short period of consideration, and in view of the importance of the painting for the collection, the Museums-Verein decided to buy it back.
Since 2001, the Städel Museum has systematically been researching the provenance of all objects that were acquired during the National Socialist period, or that changed owners or could have changed owners during those years. The basis for this research is the “Washington Declaration”, also known as the “Washington Conference Principles”, formulated at the 1998 “Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets” and the subsequent “Joint Declaration”.
The provenance information is based on the sources researched at the time they were published digitally. However, this information can change at any time when new sources are discovered. Provenance research is therefore a continuous process and one that is updated at regular intervals.
Ideally, the provenance information documents an object’s origins from the time it was created until the date when it found its way into the collection. It contains the following details, provided they are known:
The successive ownership records are separated from each other by a semicolon.
Gaps in the record of a provenance are indicated by the placeholder “…”. Unsupported information is listed in square brackets.
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