Austria • 1930−2015
Ernst Fuchs: (German Ernst Fuchs February 13, 1930, Vienna - November 9, 2015, Vienna). Austrian artist, founder of the Vienna school of fantastic realism.

Features of the artist Ernst Fuchs: Fuchs worked in a new, independently invented and designed by him style, which the artist called "fantastic realism." The name speaks for itself: it is an artistic interaction of classical painting and radical, modern trends. A special connection of the direction is traced with surrealism, its challenge and provocation. The painting of Fuchs is a dissonance, a hoax, a challenge to society and at the same time a continuous dialogue with the old masters. This extraordinarily prolific and vibrant Austrian artist left behind him the richest creative legacy in various art genres from architecture to music.

Famous paintings by artist Ernst Fuchs: "Mournful Rose Garden", "Three Mysteries of St. Rosencrantz", "Christ", "Metamorphosis of Lucretia", "King Solomon".

Childhood and maturation of Ernst Fuchs

Ernst Fuchs was born in 1930 in the Ottakring district of Vienna. He was the only child in the family. His father Maximilian Fuchs was a Jew who not only did not want to become a rabbi, but also married a Christian, Leopoldine. In 1941, he was in mortal danger because of his nationality and was forced to flee to Shanghai. The family for some reason remains in Vienna.

To save the life of his son, who was supposed to get into a concentration camp as the son of a Jew, Leopoldina draws up a divorce. At age 12, Ernst was baptized in St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna and became a Catholic. Perhaps from the mother’s side it was an exclusively formal step taken to save her son, but Catholicism would not be just a confession for Ernst. It will have the strongest influence on his personality.

And yet, because of his background, the boy has no right to attend regular school and study with “ordinary” children, so he gets an education at home. Ernst's artistic talent is so obvious that his teacher decides to include additional subjects in the student’s education, such as painting and sculpture. The first lessons he receives from the restorer Alois Schiemann. At the age of 15, he entered the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, where he became the youngest student. Fuchs was adopted in the class of the legendary Professor Albert Paris von Gütersloh.

Fuchs first met with the Surrealists at the exhibition in 1947. He realized that this is exactly what he wanted to embody in his work. "Dark Game" Salvador Dali made a strong impression on Fuchs.

Fantastic realism and spiritual quest for Ernst Fuchs

At the Academy, he met his future colleagues and associates: Arica brauer, Rudolf Hausner, Wolfgang hatter and Anton Lehmden. With them in 1948, Fuchs created the Vienna School of Fantastic Realism. This is a kind of hybrid of surrealism and traditions of the German Renaissance, which implies a deep subtext. Its ideological side includes a rethinking of all stages of art history, as well as the interaction of Christian and Jewish philosophies. The abundance of detail in Fuchs's works of this period resembles Boschwhose famous triptych "The Last Judgment" at that time was already stored in the Vienna Academy, and the ascetic faces of the characters - heroes Durer.

The name Fuchs first became known in post-war Austria thanks to his “Urban cycle” (Stadt-Zyklus) and other drawings made with gouache and coal. With the same works, he participated in the first Biennale in Venice after the war.

In 1947, Fuchs went to Turin, where he met the founder of metaphysical painting. Giorgio de chirico and his follower Felice Carorati. In 1949, despite his plight, he went to Paris. Here he finds himself in the midst of cultural events, in the concentration of new modern ideas. Henri Breton, Jean Cocteau and existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre became his acquaintances. Meanwhile, his first wife Trud is at home, in Vienna, caring for Fuchs' two sons, Elias and Daniel Friedemann.

In Paris, Fuchs’s financial situation remains at the same pitiable level: he cannot afford to rent an apartment or a room and is forced to live in a cafe. Cafe "Café de Flore" and "Les Deux Magots" became his workshops, where the artist worked all day. In 1951, at one of the exhibitions, he first personally met with Salvador Dali, who became more interested in the work of the unusual Austrian. This fact did not serve as an impetus for the development of Fuchs career: the influence of the great genius of surrealism at that time had already weakened. Nevertheless, the 1950s were a time of active not only creative, but also philosophical, mental development of Fuchs. His works are filled with symbols and transformed medieval images. The artist is interested in philosophy and alchemy, reads the mystic Meister Eckhart and Gustav Jung. During this period, the Austrian master creates his most significant graphic cycle "Unicorn". There is often found the image of his second wife - Jerry Crongold, whom he met in Paris.

In 1852, the couple had a son, Michael. But their relationship, they will issue only two years later.

Awe and blasphemy in the works of Ernst Fuchs

In 1953, Ernst followed Jerry Crongold to New York and Los Angeles. Fuchs organically joined the actual cultural life of America, met with gallery owner and patron of the arts Peggy Guggenheim and jazz idols of those years: Dave Brubeck and Charlie Parker. But in 1956 he was fascinated by spiritual, religious quest.

Arriving in Israel, Fuchs settled in the Benedictine monastery of the Assumption of Our Lady on Mount Zion. Here he spent a year working on the large-scale painting The Last Supper. Fuchs devotes time not only to painting, but also to the study of iconographic symbolism and religion in general. At the same time, he receives a new order — Fuchs is assigned to write the paintings The Three Mysteries of St. Rosencrantz for Hetzendorf’s arrival in the 12th district of Vienna. Creating incredible deep and at the same time shocking, frightening images, Fuchs was sure that he created icons. The Catholic congregation had a different opinion, demanded that the triptych be removed, but in the end the truth remained for the artist. Today in Vienna you can admire his unusual, fascinating creation.

In 1962, Fuchs returned to Vienna, where he married for the third time. He and his wife Eva-Cristina became universal idols, popular personalities in the circles of creative youth. Fuchs opens a gallery where fans of fantastic realism gather. The style of his paintings is as mobile as his life. Now you can find a lot of erotic and mythological motives in them.

Fuchs, and therefore his school of fantastic realism traveled with exhibitions around the world. Japan, Los Angeles, New York and Paris are just a small part of geography. At art fairs, showrooms and auctions, the work of adepts of bold style was the most desirable.

And not only painting

Fuchs' fascination now becomes not only painting: objects of decorative and applied arts and even architectural structures designed and developed by Fuchs are born.

After two years of restoration work, Fuchs turned Villa Wagner, built by the legendary architect Otto Wagner in the 14th district of Vienna, into his private studio, creating a mansion in harmony with his extravagant vision. Becoming the owner of a magnificent architectural creation, the master paid attention to both his exterior decor and the interior: he added the furniture of the custom-made villa with furniture, sculptures, lamps, tapestries and paintings. Wagner’s Villa became the Ernst Fuchs Museum, which presents his early works from 1945 onwards.

Fuchs tirelessly expands the horizons of his work, orders await him throughout Europe. These are monumental works in Vienna, and scenery for opera productions: Wagner's Parsifal and Mozart's Magic Flute for the Munich Opera, Offenbach’s Hofmann Tales, Legend of Joseph ballet in Italy. Inspiration could visit Fuchs at any time: on board the plane or in a hotel room, and the result could be expressed in very different forms. The music albums “Von Jahve” and “Via Dolorosa” are released during this beneficial period.

In 1978, Fuchs for the first time signed the work "Icarus" with the pseudonym Feuer Fuchs - fire fox (German).

In the late 1980s, Fuchs moved to the south of France and began creating large-scale paintings, such as Dionis, and also began working on design for various architectural projects. For example, the mosaic fountain Nymphaeum Omega, located in the garden of the Villa, is entirely designed by Fuchs.

Contradiction - Ernst Fuchs Credo

Soon the artist will begin to do what he calls "Lebenswerk", that is, the "work of life." This is the Cathedral of St. Egidius and "Chapel of the Apocalypse"which are located in the town of Klagenfurt. Religion, apocalyptic themes and fantastic realism are whimsically and at the same time shocking, as, indeed, in all works of Fuchs, intertwined in the space of the chapel. Here you can find airplanes and archangels, rockets and the scene of Abraham's sacrifice, and all this riot of scenes is presented in bright, pristine colors. Work on the project took 20 years. In addition to the chapel, Ernst Fuchs was involved in various architectural projects in Austria. For example, the Kunsthotel Fuchspalast in Carinthia.

Contradictions determine the life and work of Ernst Fuchs. In his work you can meet God and the devil, death and erotica, thin icon-painting faces and frightening, disgusting characters. The artist himself compared his workflow with communication with old masters. As Fuchs explained: "Michelangelo's storm rushes through your mind, until Leonardo's shady grottos cover you".

Fuchs was a prolific writer and, in addition to keeping diary entries, published his poetry, essay, erotic prose. He wrote the novel "Aura", presented the work "Heavenly Architecture", where he expressed his vision of architecture, painting and sculpture.

In the 1990s and early 2000s, Ernst Fuchs participated in several major international exhibitions. He was the first Western artist to have the honor of exhibiting at the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1993. In 2001, the artist visited the Tretyakov Gallery.

Ernst Fuchs died on November 9, 2015, living a truly fantastic life. She was as bright and intense as his work. On the account of Fuchs, among other things - three official marriages, numerous extramarital relations, 15 or even 16 children.

The master wore outlandish hats, created according to his own sketch, went on a gold Rolls-Royce, the interior of which he invented himself, having decoded it with inlay and painting. Headgear and cars have become the "calling card" of this enchanting character in Vienna. And from the works of Fuchs, the sculpture, installed on the roof of the car in the courtyard of the Theater-Museum of Salvador Dali in Figueres, is most visible to the general public.

Author: Lyudmila Lebedeva
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