Eric Carle, The Artist Who Painted A Blue Horse
Published 2011 by Philomel Books, An Imprint of Penguin Group, 32p
Franz Marc was a representative figure of the German Expressionism. Because he liked to paint animals in unusual colours, sometimes unrealistic, the traditionalists often criticised his work; the Nazis considered him a degenerate artist. But Franz Marc trusted his artistic call and continued to paint animals, in a simple yet full of emotions style.
The painter was killed in World War I, during the Battle of Verdun. In the pocket of his uniform there was found a book with several drawings that the artist was planning to make into paintings when the war was over.
Eric Carle, who spent his childhood under the Nazi regime in Germany, had little contact with modern art but one day his art teacher, who seems to have anticipated Carle’s talent, secretly showed him some forbidden reproductions. Initially, young Carle was scared and shocked but eventually he understood their beauty and uniqueness.
The Artist Who Painted A Blue Horse is Carle’s tribute to Franz Marc who had the courage to paint blue horses and yellow cows but also his statement that all children are in fact little artists that represent the world in unpredictable, brilliant colours.
“I am an artist and I paint” Eric Carle begins his book, letting us know that a factor of surprise might be expected. Shortly after we turn the pages we see a blue horse, a green lion, a polka-dotted donkey, animals painted in bright, unexpected colours, all proving that perspective might differ and creativity is actually the expression of personal emotional and intellectual capability and power.
Complement The Artist Who Painted A Blue Horse with The Iridescence of Birds, a book about Henri Matisse and the way childhood influenced his art.