Franz Marc. Genesis II (Schöpfungsgeschichte II) from The First Portfolio (Die erste Mappe). (1914, posthumously printed and published 1921)

Franz Marc Genesis II (Schöpfungsgeschichte II) from The First Portfolio (Die erste Mappe) (1914, posthumously printed and published 1921)

  • Not on view

In this woodcut, illustrating the creation story in the Book of Genesis, Franz Marc has dissolved all but the last vestiges of the recognizable world. From this clean slate, new life—pure and uncorrupted—emerges from a chaotic and dynamic swirl of interlocking forms. By spring 1914, when he made Schöpfungsgeschichte II (Genesis II), Marc had lost his earlier faith that the natural world could provide an antidote to what he viewed as a sick society. In a letter, he wrote that animals—until then his most prominent subjects, symbolizing joyous rebirth—aroused "so much antipathy and so much ugliness that my depictions instinctively (from an inner compulsion) became ever more schematic and abstract."

Marc was influenced by his close studies of early printed Bibles, and especially their woodcut illustrations. He planned to include this print in an illustrated Bible he was organizing for the Blaue Reiter, the Munich-based artist group he cofounded, although the outbreak of World War I scuttled the project.

Publication excerpt from Heather Hess, German Expressionist Digital Archive Project, German Expressionism: Works from the Collection. 2011.
Medium
Woodcut
Dimensions
composition: 9 7/16 x 7 15/16" (23.9 x 20.2 cm); sheet: 19 11/16 x 13 3/4" (50 x 35 cm)
Publisher
(Gustav Kiepenheuer) Verlag der Dichtung, Potsdam
Printer
Fritz Voigt, Berlin
Edition
125 (including 25 on Japan paper [this ex. possibly outside the portfolio edition] and 100 on "Bütten" paper); an unknown number of impressions printed by the artist in black and in color, and 1 known trial proof, printed by the artist in black, with gouache additions; plus a posthumous edition of 30 issued by Otto Stangl, Munich, and printed by Gerhard Köhler, Baden-Baden, in 1984
Credit
Katherine S. Dreier Bequest
Object number
265.1953
Department
Drawings and Prints

Installation views

MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos.

If you notice an error, please contact us at digital@moma.org.

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

All requests to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA should be addressed to Scala Archives at firenze@scalarchives.com. Motion picture film stills or motion picture footage from films in MoMA's Film Collection cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For licensing motion picture film footage it is advised to apply directly to the copyright holders. For access to motion picture film stills please contact the Film Study Center. More information is also available about the film collection and the Circulating Film and Video Library.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or moma.org, please email text_permissions@moma.org. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to archives@moma.org.

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to digital@moma.org.