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Ernst Fuchs

The official Website of the artist presents the most comprehensive exhibition of his works on the Internet, comprising a vast variety of pictures, audio- and video files.

The universal artist from Vienna, Austria became world famous as graphic artist, painter, sculptor, designer, stage designer, architect, composer and poet. He created a gigantic number of etchings and an equal comprehensive amount of oil paintings and aquarells. In the chapel of parish church St.Egid in Klagenfurt he created monumental frescos to the Apocalypse of John. Beside numerous small-scale sculptures and reliefs Ernst Fuchs created a huge number of life-sized and larger than life-sized sculptures. He designed furniture, tiles, porcelain, jewellery, medallions, tapestry, carpets, fabrics and also costumes and stage decorations for Parsifal, Lohengrin, Tristan and Isolde, the Magic Flute, Hoffmanns Narratives The Bat and The Golem. Various substantial building projects like a hotel in St. Veit an der Glan or a church at "Thal bei Graz", Austria and a number of glass mosaic fountains were built after his designs. He composed operas and produced a number of records and CD´s. Ernst Fuchs wrote poems, children’s books und fairy-tales, illustrated numerous books, for example, the Bible, and wrote theoretical works about art- and architecture, as well as an autobiography.
He was in contact with important artists of his time like Dali, Hundertwasser and Leonard Bernstein.

His undisputed best known work is his own museum; a Villa in Vienna built by Austrian architect Otto Wagner, which he transformed into a fantastic Fuchs museum. Here the visitor will find a representative cross-section of Ernst Fuchs’s work. In the area surrounding the house he created a marvellous sculpture park, where an exceptional well house with basin of a fountain built by the artist out of glass mosaic is situated.

Ernst Fuchs was not only commonly known through his outstanding and versatile talent as an artist, his life was totally unconventional and coined by constant ups and downs. He spent his childhood and adolescent years as underdog chased by the NS-regime in poverty, acquired enormous wealth in the 1970s, lost everything but regained everything soon later. For some time he lived and painted in a monastery, and fathered before and after this time sixteen children with seven wives. His family car was in the 1960s a tiny Puch-Fiat and in the 70s he owned a golden Rolls Royce Phantom, which he fitted with his own intarsia and painted ceiling. Muses, models and lovers always surrounded him.

Extremes determined his life and work. God, Eros, knight, death and the Devil! The genius always moves between extremes and even as a83-year-old man does not come to rest. He always was unloved and not understood by a lot of people, but he has got a big family and a worldwide fan community. Three generations of artists all around the world are already his students and artistic successors.


Ernst Fuchs about his creative work

Text 1:

In winter 1945/46 I realised for the first time, how a media-compulsive creative urge seized me. My hand created, led in trance, obscure things. As if under force, standing, I produced a great number of linear drawings in a few days. Through those drawings I detached my self from my first role models and immersed into unknown grounds of my fantasy. It did not take long for me to realise that I was a surrealist. The discussions, thoughts and pictures of that time that still influence my work until today are unrepeatable.

Apart from a few drawings and paintings of this time nothing is left, I barely remember situations, and those are only accessible, when I look at the pictures. So drawings and paintings exist as the islands, which emerged in the river of time rushing by.

Text 2:

Not seldom I get into trance while painting, my state of consciousness fades giving way to a feeling of being afloat (like a medium) and being led and moved by a sfe hand, doing things I do not know much about conciously. This condition lasts for hours. Afterwards, everything I did in this time seems to me, as someone else would have done it.

I am aware of Insights, which I would have never thought to find. In this spiritual condition, I comprehend what the great insights of other great artists, I admired where. An understanding of art and the insight it conveys ascertains me as if my mind would get into discussion with all artists of all epochs. It is like floating, opening wings, I belief, that it what was called inspiration. Many times I start working and work for hours without getting into this state of mind. Also the kind of work brings me joy, but I know, what I do is only of casual nature. A kind of preparation for the higher, ingenious precipitation of ideas. In eras of artistic heyday preparation work was carried out by assistants, by artists who after the design of the master prepared the mesh of lines and colour. In the end the master completed the artwork with the "masters last hand". That’s how the old masters worked until the end of baroque. The painter reserved for himself to do the most important. The conduct of the workflow was in his hands. Many artist where educated, to distinguish the essentials from the inessential. Some times I find myself in the state of special consciousness already after I start to work, at other times this trance arises after hours of futile attempt. I am sure that my urge to create derives from the wish to get into this superb spiritual state. 

Open the windows, study light, to picture the dark in its gentle depth. With the clouds through the skies of day and night, find faces embodying dreams. Be young, anticipate everything. See nothing, not understanding incidents but still able to breathe the benevolence that derives from it.

This is the frenzy of all beginning of art. Michelangelo’s thunderstorms trek through your mind, until the shady grottos of Leonardo mystically hide you. In their shelter you realize your inner light you tell about mundane icons in which old goddesses live. The old master-philosophe, da Vinci’s spirit follows you into the labyrinth. So you gain confidence.

(Ernst Fuchs out of: "the grafic work“, 1980)

Text 3:

What I tell you here happened one day - completely unexpected. One evening, a long time ago, I saw in by bathtub from porcelain - it was tremendous large, formed sprawling like a sauce cup of those sets, you get served in Parisian restaurants - a from the white of the tub and from the gloss of the turquoise ornamental painting not to distinguish delicate nymph. The word "nymph" ascended sole and without resistance within me. A term vivid, round, fine carved and polished like a statue, a revealed inside, a beautiful shell of an oyster.

Her bright hair had the colour of a barely ripe orange. Her pair of eyes shone like the bedrock of emerald. A slight seam of amber trimmed her pupils that stood as black onyx mirrors in the big green iris and glistened in my eyes. Was it the glance of a noble, prevailing goddess? Was it gold? Was it fire?

Strewn around on the gold-white tiles lay the dress of this creature.

(Ernst Fuchs from "In the sign of the Sphinx“)

Ernst Fuchs

Text 4:

Things that you could not see in the normal world always pursued me. I always occupied myself with a kind of painting that renders pictures other people see in dreams or hallucinations. I could pass the barrier of this world of inner pictures even in awakeness and normal condition. The change from the world of dreams or phantasy into the world of in reality visible pictures for me was constantly possible. My themes where from the beginning on religious or mythological so that the contents of my pictures of surrealistic or phantastic character can be found in nearly all stages of my work. 



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