Franz Marc (February 8, 1880 – March 4, 1916) was a German painter and printmaker, one of the key figures of the German Expressionist movement. He was a founding member of Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider), a journal whose name later became synonymous with the circle of artists collaborating in it.
Marc showed several of his works in the first Der Blaue Reiter exhibition at the Thannhauser Galleries in Munich between December 1911 and January 1912. The apex of the German expressionist movement, the exhibit also showed in Berlin, Köln, Hagen, and Frankfurt. In 1912, Marc met Robert Delaunay, whose use of color and futurist method was a major influence on Marc's work. Fascinated by futurism and cubism, Marc created art increasingly stark and abstract in nature.
After mobilization of the German Army during World War I, the government identified notable artists to be withdrawn from combat to protect them. Marc was on the list, but before orders for reassignment could reach him, he was struck in the head and killed instantly in 1916 by a shell splinter during the Battle of Verdun.