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The Little Mountain Goats

Franz Marc, German, 1880–1916
Oil on canvas
Made in
Germany, Europe
Current Location
On View, Gallery 214
23 7/8 x 16 in. (60.6 x 40.6 cm)
Credit Line
Bequest of Morton D. May
Public Domain
Object Number
In this charming work by Franz Marc, two green goats float above a landscape of spiky mountains. Marc was a member of the Der Blaue Reiter (Blue Rider) expressionist artist group and was renowned for his paintings of animals. In his own words, he “found man ugly” whereas animals were “lovelier and purer.” He represented this purity with prismatic forms painted in transparent layers of glowing colors. Marc’s death in World War I (1914–1918) shocked his fellow expressionists and effectively disbanded the Blue Rider group.
c.1924 - still in 1936
Georg Hess (1868-1943), Berlin, Germany; Liselotta Hess (1916-2003) [1]

by 1939 - still in 1940
Buchholz Gallery (Curt Valentin), New York, NY, USA [2]

- 1957
Roman Norbert Ketterer, Stuttgart, Germany

Fine Arts Associates (Otto Gerson), New York, NY, USA, purchased from Roman Norbert Ketterer [3]

1957 - 1983
Morton D. May (1914-1983), St. Louis, MO, purchased from Fine Arts Associates

1983 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, bequest of Morton D. May [4]

[1] In the 1936 catalogue raisonné, Georg Hess is referenced as owner [Schardt, Alois. "Franz Marc." Berlin: Rembrandt Verlag, 1936, p. 162]. Documentation from the Lenbachhaus, Munich supports this information [documentation and letter from Dr. Annegret Hoberg dated April 12, 2002, SLAM document files]. Georg Hess, a Jewish businessman, lived in Berlin until 1938 when he left Germany for the Netherlands [email from Barbara Welker, Archivist at the Centrum Judaicum, Berlin, dated November 12, 2002, SLAM document files].

Upon leaving Germany, Georg Hess and his wife, Frida Sara Hess, decided to share their art collection with their daughter, Liselotta (Lilo) Hess. While Georg and his wife took most of their paintings with them to Amsterdam in 1938, Lilo Hess brought a smaller lot of paintings with her to the United States, where she moved in 1938 due to Nazi-persecution. In 1943, Georg and Frida Sara Hess were killed in a concentration camp in Sobibor, Poland. In 1947, Lilo Hess filed a report with the German government to obtain compensation for her parents' lost property. Since the list of paintings for which Lilo Hess requested compensation did not include this painting, it seems that she brought the picture with her to New York in 1938 and sold it to Curt Valentin [email dated February 15, 2005, from Ms. Winkler-Wulkau, in charge of the German compensation reports at the Landesarchiv, Berlin, SLAM document files].

[2] The painting was exhibited in 1939 at Buchholz Gallery (Curt Valentin), New York ["Contemporary European Painters and Sculptors Exhibition." New York: Buchholz Gallery, May 9 - 27, 1939, cat. 14]. It was later offered for sale at Buchholz Gallery in 1940 [Exhibition catalogue "Franz Marc." New York: Buchholz Gallery, Nov. 11 - Dec. 7. 1940].

[3] Otto Gerson purchased the painting from Ketterer in July 1957, and sold it to Morton D. May in October 1957 [Otto and Ilse Gerson papers, 1933-1980, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., reel 4052; invoice, May Archives, Saint Louis Art Museum].

[4] Last Will and Testament of M. D. May dated June 11, 1982 [copy, May Archives, Saint Louis Art Museum]. Minutes of the Acquisitions and Loans Committee of the Board of Trustees, Saint Louis Art Museum, September 20, 1983.
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