Monthly Archives: March 2011

While in New York over the spring break, I visited the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum of modern art. One piece that caught my attention was Franz Marc’s Yellow Cow.

Marc (1880-1916) was a German expressionist painter, and together with Wassily Kandinsky, one of the co-founders of Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider), a circle of artists focusing on expressing their inner states in their art.

Nancy Spector writes:

“For Marc, different hues evoked gender stereotypes: yellow, a “gentle, cheerful and sensual” color, symbolized femininity, while blue, representing the “spiritual and intellectual,” symbolized masculinity. Marc’s color theories and biography have been used by art historian Mark Rosenthal to interpretYellow Cow. The frolicking yellow cow, as a symbol of the female principle, may be a veiled depiction of Maria Franck, whom Marc married in 1911. Extending this reading, Rosenthal sees the triangular blue mountains in the background as Marc’s abstract self-portrait, thereby making this painting into a private wedding picture.”