The influence of his previous travels throughout Europe (and Paris in particular) can be seen in this painting. His use of bright and somewhat opposing colours tends to dominate the overall impact of The Dead Deer. This same quality is witnessed in many of his other works.

The Violent and the Mystical

Marc himself stated that his use of colour was very purposeful. Shades of blue and purple represented mysticism while reds signalled conflict and violence (not uncommon in regards to the approaches of other artists during this time).

Thus, we see an interesting relationship within this painting. The bright red colour of the deer is almost immediately offset by the rather tranquil bluish-white tones below its carcass.

It is not entirely clear if these blues are meant to represent a body of water. Towards the top of the painting, we can see other tones such as green, orange, black and auburn. These decidedly organic shades also seem to be clashing with the reds and blues below.

A Transitional Piece?

Judging by his very placement of these colours, it may be suggested that Franz Marc was making a statement in regards to life, death and the afterlife. Each of the three phases can be clearly seen within the picture. Organic hues associated with life are overtaken by the violence and conflict around death.

Then, there is a shift into the mystical and the spiritual as represented by his use of blue. This is even more evident when we observe the lightening tones found at the centre of the blue.

Did he try to represent an afterlife and a heightened sense of spirituality? The Dead Deer certainly speaks volumes in regards to the prolific nature of this painter.