Graduation Year

2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Art

Major Professor

Riccardo Marchi

Keywords

Animalisierung, Einfühlung, Ethology, German Modernism, Painting, Twentieth Century

Abstract

Keywords: Animalisierung, Einfühlung, Ethology,

Expressionism, Painting, German Modernism

In this study I deploy the perspective of ethology to examine Franz Marc's paintings of animals. To perceive animals ethologically means acknowledging that animals feel, think, experience, and imagine the world. Ethology has come to include interpretive pursuits as well as traditional field studies, and as I show, Marc's practice encompassed both aspects of this evolving discipline. To establish the presence of ethology in the humanities I give a "case study" of what I call "retroactive ethology" in the work of J.M. Coetzee. I present an account of Marc's deep knowledge about real live animals. I offer an assessment of the inspiration Marc drew from Post-Impressionism and Egyptian art and show how Marc modernizes animal painting by demolishing long-standing conventions of the genre. I offer some ideas to more fully explain two important terms Marc uses, Animalisierung and Einfühlung. Throughout my paper I keep conceptual and historical observations closely tied to Marc's own words and images. Thus by reading and looking closely, we are able to see Marc as a dedicated and innovative ethologist whose implicit environmental commitment offers great comment upon contemporary discussions of the representation of the animal.

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