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.