Austrian painter Ernst Fuchs dies at 85

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Posted: Nov 09, 2015 6:00 AM
Austrian painter Ernst Fuchs dies at 85

VIENNA (AP) — Austrian painter Ernst Fuchs, whose works combined a love of color and texture with clear lines, mysticism and religious themes, died Monday at 85.

Primarily known for his vivid paintings, Fuchs was also an internationally recognized sculptor, stage designer and print maker, composer and poet.

Tillmann Fuchs, the artist's son, confirmed his father died but did not disclose the cause of death.

Fuchs and other artists — Arik Brauer, Rudolf Hausner, Fritz Janschka, Wolfgang Hutter and Anton Lehmden — founded the Vienna School of Fantastic Realism, which emphasized clarity and details in a way that some have compared to early Flemish painting, as well as religious and esoteric symbolism.

Influenced in his early life by Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and their contemporaries, Fuchs emphasized texture as well as color in his later works. He revived the traditional mixed technique, using egg tempera to build volume, and glazing it with oil paints mixed with resin to create a luminous effect.

By the early 1960s, his works reflected his interest in the symbolism of the alchemists and the creations of the mannerists, particularly Jacques Callot.

Baptized as a Catholic during the Nazi era to escape the devastation of the Holocaust, Fuchs increasingly focused on religious symbolism. After entering the Dormition Abbey in Jerusalem in 1957, he started on his Last Supper, among the most monumental of his paintings, as well as smaller religious-themed works.

Returning to Vienna in 1961, Fuchs wrote on the art of painting and produced a series of prints. By the mid-1970s he was a sought-after opera stage director and designer, working on productions of Mozart's Magic Flute and Wagner's Parsifal and Lohengrin.

Designed by 19th-century Austrian architect Otto Wagner, Fuchs' grandiose villa in an outlying Vienna district later was turned into a museum displaying his works.

No funeral details were available.