Arik Brauer / Ernst Fuchs

Arik Brauer:


Ernst Fuchs:

fuchs 1

The Vienna Academy reopened after WWII in the summer of 1945. In the ruins of the Academy on the Schllerplatz the 15 year old Ernst Fuchs and 16 year old Arik Brauer first met. They formed and acquaintance with Rudolf Hausner, who had studied at the Academy in the mid 30s.

They also met at the studio of Edgar Jene, who was a member of Breton’s Surrealist group.

The artists, who would eventually be known as Fantastic Realists, were particularly influenced by the Northern Renaissance (Bosch, Brueghel, Dürer, and Grünewald in particular) and the revival of Old Master methods and techniques.

The strain of automatism that was carried through artists like Gorky, Matta, Masson to the Abstract Expressionists, was of little interest. Dali’s obsession with Old Master technique, as well as Di Chrico’s fixation with the tradition, were both influences on the group.

Brauer resides in Israel and Vienna. He was the son of Lithuanian Jewish immigrants. He has worked as a painter, printmaker, poet, dancer, singer and stage designer.

Ernst Fuchs was the son of a Christian mother and Jewish father. He avoided the concentration camps when his parents divorced and Ernst remained in the custody of his mother. After his studies in Vienna he settled in Paris for 12 years. And has since gone on to international venues.

His work is hardly known in the US, largely because of the totalitarian script of the MoMA, which ruled out this brand of “surrealism” in favor of the abstract expressionist line of linear and arbitrary and simplistic art history–America über Alles. This accounts for the reason that in 40 years of art viewing, I’ve only seen one piece by Fuchs in this country, and that was a few years ago at a show of Juxtapoz artists at the Orange Country Museum in California.

Of course, the MoMA narrative has been shot to hell, but the prejudice toward simplistic art that Warhol Pop and Minimalist flatness brought to a science still casts its pall. Art such as that in the video below is still all but invisible in the precincts of the High Art Priests of NYC.


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4 Responses to Arik Brauer / Ernst Fuchs

  1. Otto Rapp says:

    I appreciate your post about Fuchs and Brauer. After many years in Canada, I returned to my roots in Vienna. Ernst Fuchs is a personal friend (in these past few years), and I am also acquainted with Arik Brauer, whose sister Lena Brauer and former dance partner is also a good personal friend of mine (she is a very accomplished painter herself).
    For a couple of years until just recently, I had a studio in the same place as Ernst Fuchs, the Palais Palffy (now we both moved out).
    In my years at art school, I wrote an essay (with assistance by Rudolf Hausner, whom I had consulted with in 1980): The Vienna School of Fantastic realism:
    There is a upsurge, albeit underground and outside of the ‘artworld’ – just last year, the Vienna Academy of Visionary Art opened its doors in a space at the Palais Palffy, where also the Phantasten Museum is situated. Most of the students are Americans, as are those that attend the various seminars offered by former students of Ernst Fuchs (such as Prof. Philip Rubinov Jacobson, Laurence Caruana and the late Robert Venosa). Mati Klarwein, who was a close personal friend of Fuchs should be mentioned, since he did gain some recognition in the US, as well as the H.R. Giger, who is of course a cult figure through his Alien. Fritz Hundertwasser should be a household word even in the US – he and Fuchs were good friends and shared an apartment in Paris. Former students of Rudolf Hausner, such as F. Scott Hess, have gained some recognition in the US. If you browse my website of the Visionary Art Gallery, you will find many second generation artists, again many of them US based, that can be traced directly or indirectly to the Vienna School of Fantastic Realism. Many of the older generation have left us, unfortunately. Wolfgang Hutter passed away just recently. Left are from the original five only Fuchs, Brauer and Lehmden. Fritz Janschka, a early member of the group, lives in the US and is still active, in spite of his advanced age (he is 95 years old).
    My own website is

  2. ottorapp says:

    Reblogged this on Otto Rapp’s Blog and commented:
    Always interesting when someone mentions artists that are close to me. Since returning to Vienna in 2011 I had become friends with many artists from the ‘Vienna School’, including Ernst Fuchs.

  3. trueoutsider says:

    Hello Otto, Good to hear from a fellow visionary. I’m looking at all the information you sent in the first comment you made and will reply after sifting through it. It’s fascinating stuff to me. I had no idea Ernst Fuchs was still alive. I’d like to find out more about the “Vienna School” and so I’m hoping to begin my education at your blog site.


  4. trueoutsider says:

    Hi Otto, I’ve finally had a chance to go through a lot of what you linked to. First of all, I think your work is really marvelous and inspiring and I’m very glad to have seen it. I hope you’ll tell Mr. Fuchs how inspiring I’ve found his works when you see him. My mother was Canadian, and I spent every summer of my childhood visiting relatives in the Georgian Bay above Toronto, which in my memory was a kind of paradise. And still is when I’m able to visit there. So we have the Canadian connection.

    I’ve been aware of most of the artists you mention. Hundertwasser since I was an undergraduate. I recall a contemporary art lecturer in art school asserting that there wasn’t a single artist outside the US worth looking at or talking about. A friend of mine raised his hand to ask if there weren’t at least a few interesting European artists active. (At that time it would have been inconceivable that any third world or Asian country could be doing anything artistically significant.) This was in 1973. The lecturer told him that the ONLY art that was worthwhile paying any attention to at all was being made in New York City. So if Asian or European artists were doing anything worthwhile they would to move to NYC. He then challenged my friend to name a single European artist worth looking at, to which my friend shrugged his shoulders and asked, “Hundertwasser.” The Professors reaction to that was total dismissal.

    All part of the brainwashing/indoctrination system of asserting American superiority over all and sundry. I do recall Mati Klarwein’s great Santana Abraxas cover and there was all the great psychedelica, underground stuff and various dissidents from NYC hegemony. But all of it became sectioned off as “lowbrow” in one way or another… or declared “retrograde Surrealism.” The really serious artists were painting monochrome canvases. It entirely collapsed in the 80s when Wall Street bankers moved in force into the art world buying anything and every thing in sight and turning it overnight into gold. Bought and paid for critics, museum board of directors mounting overnight retrospectives to push up investor values. Artists throwing together whatever gimmick that would play well in the era of making it bold and brassy. … American-style. Europeans and Asians and Third Worlds caught onto it quick and the permanent Schlock of the New obtains everywhere.

    That’s my view of it anyway. And I’m not being cynical. I’m just describing reality as I’ve witnessed it. I was in NYC for 16 years beginning in the early 80s. i watched how the sausage was made. Not much I could do about it besides complain or point out how vacuous it all was, being based on the vacuity of Duchamp/Greenberg theories of Art, i.e., “art for art’s sake”… i.e., “art without any human content or connection to lived reality.”

    In other words, it’s the art and artists in the contemporary art world itself that I find cynical, nihilistic or just plain delusional. Just as Duchamp/Greenberg themselves were totally cynical and nihilistic charlatans. I knew that about Greenberg having known a number of artists who knew Greenberg personally and by reading the horse manure he considered to be art writing. Duchamp I strongly suspected and had gathered a large circumstantial body of evidence; but I was only certain of it after reading the research of a handful of art historians proving that the urinal wasn’t even his work. He’d stolen it from a woman artist and lied about the entire episode his whole life.

    Artists subscribing to the current farce simply won’t believe this of Duchamp even with the facts staring in the face. Or what? They think great art was made by a cynical plagiarist stealing another artists work? If they want to believe it, it’s fine with me. I don’t consider myself the possessor of ultimate truth, but it’s notable that people within the art world are unwilling to even pursue a discussion about the possibility that Duchamp wasn’t a great artist and that Greenberg’s theories were a lot of hot air. If that was the case the entire edifice of American Art and it’s various clones world wide simply collapse. … including Gerhard Richter and his squeegee paintings and so on. All the Maestros just go down the drain.

    Anyway, I’ve got my little slingshot…

    Artists have gone along with the con game for decades now, all terrified to admit that the twin pillars of their “art making” come out of incredibly specious and contradictory theories. After all, how can one be an anti-artist and artist simultaneously? Duchamp is “extending” the definition of art, pushing it into entirely new forms. How? By delegitimizing the entire tradition? Van Gogh and the Expressionists following on from him extended the tradition. Duchamp claimed to want to put art in the service of the mind. What he accomplished, and there is no argument to this, if one surveys the entirety of conceptual art, was to put art into the service of the mindless. Greenberg did exactly the same thing. Declared flat. His bedrock theory does no more nor less that take away every single quality that adheres to the tradition of the visual arts and reduce it to it’s essence… which turns out to be a colored object. Andy Warhol’s Brillo Box. Donald Judd’s painted boxes. A monochrome canvas. Robert Ryman is no more than a primed canvas waiting for a real artist to begin to make a painting on it.

    And, yes, what we have is art for a civilization of complete morons… like Kubrick’s apes chattering and excited with the appearance of the monolith… A Donald Judd box… Judd type miimalism came out a few years prior to 2001 to universal acclamation of its genius. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised too find out, given Kubrick’s extraordinary genius, that he was putting a minimalist box in front of a group of apes as a comment on what “civilization” had turned itself into via the New York Gallery world.

    Check it out… the reaction of art lovers, artists, and the glitterati New York art world to minimal art… one might also see it as prescient as what the apes are in excitement and then worship over is a gigantic blow up (pop style) of a smartphone:

    I hope you’ll stay in touch. You can contact me with info about what you’re up to or just to chat at:

    cheers and have a happy and productive 2015,

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