Ernst Fuchs was born as an only child in Vienna in 1930. His father was Jewish. Fuchs' carefree childhood came to an abrupt end when the Nazis marched into Vienna in 1938. Fuchs was interned in a transit camp for half-Jews, with only his mother's formal divorce from his father preventing his deportation. His father emigrated.
In 1942 Ernst Fuchs was baptized. Fuchs was inspired to become an artist at an early age. In 1945, at the age of fifteen, Fuchs was admitted to the "Akademie der Bildenden Künste", which had been re-opened at the Vienna Schillerplatz after the war. There, he studied under Professor Albert Paris von Gütersloh until 1950. Von Güterloh's painting class became a breeding ground for the so-called "Wiener Schule des Phantastischen Realismus", with Fuchs being regarded as their main exponent. Even though this school was clearly influenced by Surrealism, it retained its independence.
The "Wiener Schule des Phantastischen Realismus" showed a stronger inclination for Sigmund Freud's ideas, particularly his method of dream interpretation, and is distinguished by a conscious support of the painting techniques of the old masters.
From 1950 to 1962 Ernst Fuchs lived and worked in Paris, from where he traveled to America, Italy, Spain and England. His first major museum and solo exhibitions also took place during this period. In 1957 Ernst Fuchs withdrew to the seclusion of a monastery in Jerusalem and painted a picture of the Last Supper for the monastery's refectory.
In 1962 Fuchs returned to his home town of Vienna as internationally acclaimed artist and was four years later appointed professor. In the early 1970s Fuchs purchased "Villa Wagner" at Vienna-Hütteldorf, which he re-designed as his place to live and work.
During the following years Fuchs designed stages and costumes for operas and ballets. He wrote philosophical essays on poetry. From 1980 to 1988 his work was honored with solo exhibitions throughout the world.
The artist's first major retrospective took place at the "Palazzo Piagini" in Venice, followed by further retrospectives at the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg and at Gruyère castle in Switzerland in the 1990s and "Palais Harrach" in Vienna in 2001. Fuchs lived and worked in Monte Carlo. Since 1988 "Villa Otto Wagner" has been his private museum, housing the Ernst Fuchs Collection.
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