Red Deer is a watercolour, gauche and graphite on paper. It was painted by Franz Marc in January 1913. It is held in the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York and is part of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Founding Collection.
He was part of an artistic movement who searched for spiritual truth through art. Marc believed that he was able to raise his art to a higher spiritual plane through the use of colour. He believed that one could understand art through the use of colour in much the same way you were able to understand music.
Franz Marc experimented with realism and naturalism through his art form. He later turned to the symbolic attraction of abstraction. Some of his most famous paintings are those of animals, including Red Dear, Yellow Cow, Tiger, Blue Horse and Red Horses.
He used his art to convey messages about the fate of mankind, the natural world and humanity that were profound.
Marc felt increasingly alienated and found the natural world to be an antidote to living. He regarded animals and nature as a means of relocating something that had become lost in the modern world.
They were not only pleasing to him but also had spiritual significance. Each and every colour he painted with had emotional meaning for him. He understood that colour was able to affect mood and he developed a colour symbolism theory.
With colour being extremely important, yellow was associated with feminine, blue with masculine and red with an often violent physical world. As individuals struggled with the increasingly changing world on the edge of war, Marc's work revealed the enormous anxieties of Europe in the early part of the twentieth century.