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Top-News  |  10. November 2015

OBITUARY FOR A UNIVERSAL GENIUS

On the death of Austrian painter Ernst Fuchs

Fuchs’ compositions seemed kitschy in their colorfulness with a touch of Mannerism and depicted mysterious representations which irritated his contemporaries. The public marveled at his fantastic pictorial worlds, but the self-proclaimed prince of painters often met with disapproval, too.

Ernst Fuchs was one of the founders of the Vienna School of “Fantastic Realism”, which was made up of several like-minded painters of his circle, including the well-known Vienna-based artist Arik Brauer, who just like Fuchs himself was not only a painter but also a stage designer.

Yesterday, on Monday the 9th November 2015, Ernst Fuchs died at the age of 85 years, as confirmed by the director of the Ernst-Fuchs-Museum, Cornelia Mensdorff-Pouilly.

Fuchs was born in Vienna in 1930 and started studying fine arts at the young age of 15. Contrary to many of his fellow artists, he did not ban the figurative from his paintings after World War II. From the beginning he was inspired by painting in the style of the old masters, art nouveau and Surrealism. He immersed himself in Christian and Jewish mythology and dealt with theories of astrology and esotericism and thus became a late representative of symbolism. The encounter with surrealist Salvador Dalí left a deep impression and lasting influence on him.

As a stage builder he designed for many operas in the 1970s – The Magic Flute in Hamburg or Richard Wagner’s Lohengrin in Munich, amongst others – for which he received large sums of money. In 1972, he acquired the derelict mansion of famous art nouveau architect Otto Wagner and had it restored according to the aspects of monument preservation. In 1988 he finally could open his own museum within the mansion. He also designed a hotel– Hotel Fuchspalast in St. Veit – whose entire architecture and interior furnishings were realized according to fantastic realism.

The artist was not only a talking point because of his profession as a painter, a stage designer and an architect. In his private life, Fuchs had many love affairs. He was married three times, but had extramarital affairs with other women, who also had his children. He leaves behind 16 children with seven women as well as 19 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren on several continents. 

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