Franz Marc: Colourful Greetings to Paul Klee

Illustrated correspondence between Franz Marc and Paul Klee

12 March – 29 May 2023

In 2022 the Franz Marc Museum acquired twelve illustrated postcards by Franz Marc to Paul Klee that are now to be exhibited for the first time.

The exchange in words and pictures, in which the partners of the two artists – Maria Marc and Lily Klee – also participated, provides an intimate view of the relationship between Marc and Klee during this most intense and lively phase of their friendship in 1913.

Besides those sent to Else Lasker-Schüler, Franz Marc’s illustrated postcards to Paul Klee are the most beautiful and artistically multifaceted collection of cards that he embellished with watercolours and collages. As with the poet, a postcard correspondence also evolved between Franz Marc and Paul and Lily Klee with exquisite pictures supplementing the cards’ mundane, everyday messages in a tongue-in-cheek way, associating them with lesser and more important events in the two painters’ artistic lives.

Franz Marc and Paul Klee’s illustrated cards reveal the difference between their artistic personalities. The deliberately unsophisticated drawings on Klee’s cards, reduced to the essential, contrast with the harmony and perfection in Marc’s miniature ‘paintings’. This dichotomy will be highlighted in the exhibition with paintings and works on paper by both artists.

The exhibition also places the cards within the wider context of the fashion for postcards that evolved at the time. The small works of art by Klee and Marc are juxtaposed with the flood of industrially produced picture postcards that were very popular at the beginning of the twentieth century as a means to exchange short messages and sent in large numbers.

Franz Marc, Sechs Affen (Postkarte von Franz Marc an Paul Klee, 29.5.1913), Detail, Franz Marc Museum, Foto: