Over the past decade I've had a few artists that were major sources of inspiration or admiration: Jacek Yerka, Zdzislaw Beksinski, Stephen Doitschinoff, and Ivan Bilibin. These artists have influenced me in various ways, both consciously and subconsciously, I'm sure. My current fascination, however, is with a Viennese master: Ernst Fuchs.
|Like any proper hero, this one has a sword.|
I've known of Fuchs for as long as I've known of any of the other surrealists, but never truly appreciated his works until a few years ago, during a chilly day in February at the Kalamazoo Institute of Art. My girlfriend and I were taking a break from touring the galleries and sat down in the library for a moment. Here, on a whim, I pulled an enormous tome off the shelf with a name I was vaguely familiar with, but had never really explored: Ernst Fuchs. I was instantly drawn to Fuch's unique style: bold colors and forms, flashes of the Old Masters combined with a new surrealism, and rich symbolism.
I've since bought that book (which was, at $125, the most I've ever spent on a single volume) and one other. The latter having been signed, to me, by the man himself. In Vienna.
While on vacation in Vienna last December, my girlfriend, her father, and I made a trip to the outskirts of Vienna to the Ernst Fuchs museum (website
). I'd never been to a more impressive museum. The building itself is an architectural treasure designed by Otto Wagner and also serves as Fuch's personal residence. The three of us had the place to ourselves on a cold, rainy December 22nd.
|Fuch's artistry and meticulous attention to detail can be seen everywhere|
|wallpaper and furniture, all designed by the artist|
|"Daedalus/Perseus and the Nymph" - a current favorite, despite titular inconsistencies|
|He definitely seems to be an ass-man. Respect.|
The museum's floors are carpeted and many of the works are lit by table lamps which makes for a very intimate experience. Through a door to the living space, I could hear some talk. Ernst Fuchs is 82 years old and had just undergone surgery (heart, if I remember correctly), so obviously he was not entertaining guests. Still, he managed to scribble out a small message in a book, in German, for an admirer who had come all the way from Michigan.