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Prof. Ernst Fuchs painted Nathalie as "Cinderella" on behalf of the Salzburger Festspiele" in 1988. Truly a fairy tale story!



Founder of the Viennese School of "Phantastic Realism"

Ernst Fuchs, painter, designer, architect, song-writer, poet, set-designer, philosopher and visionary, is one of the most versatile artists in Europe. Salvador Dali once said about his close friend: "My only successor". Most people know Prof. Ernst Fuchs, son of Jewish parents, as “the man with the cap” and as owner of several Rolls-Royces. Only a few know that the eccentric artist set up the famous “Viennese School of Art” and has gone down in art history as the founder of "Phantastic Realism".

More than 15 years ago I interviewed Ernst Fuchs for the first time in his magnificent Villa Wagner in Vienna - an architectural treasure designed by Otto Wagner. Shortly afterwards I sat for him five days as a model for a "Cinderella" picture, which Ernst Fuchs then subsequently prepared for his part for the Cinderella ball at the Salzburg Festival in Schloss Klessheim. We became very close friends. 2 years ago, when I visited Ernst Fuchs again in his atelier in Monaco, I asked him, if "Phantastic Realism" is still magic for him....

Prof. Ernst Fuchs
Yes, indeed...
If one considers that human nature needs myth in order to live with reality, that human kind always lived in the world of beliefs, tales, fantasy - then this flight out of the natural world into a supernatural world - i.e. an imagined world - has always been a basic aspiration of people throughout history.


Visions from mythology have fascinate Ernst Fuchs since his earliest childhood.

Prof. Ernst Fuchs
My immediate background was not religious. But my grandfather was a very pious Jew, a very educated man and an unbelievable kind person. That certainly impressed me a great deal as a child and brought me close to this religion. Later on I stayed in monasteries and there, the Christian element impressed me as being something remarkable Jewish. Thus, from my childhood on, one can say I have grown into this topic. It is probably inherited.

You have been friends with many artists including Salvador Dali. Did these meetings make a lasting impression on you?

Prof. Ernst Fuchs
Yes very much so. I even sought out such meetings and had high expectations of them. Particularly the meetings with Dali who I had known since I was 17 or rather 16 - from a single reproduction. One should not forget, in Vienna one knew nothing about surrealism and all modern art - it was looked down on before the war and forbidden during the war and I was only just 14 when the war finished. So also from an educational point of view I knew almost nothing about painting. But Dali - on a small artist's postcard in black and white - had fascinated me so much and I thought: that is an incredibly good picture. I was already interested in surreal themes and so wanted to know more about him. It was possible for me to see more of him in the course of a short time and at the age of 20, in 1950, I met him personally...

What was that like?

Prof. Ernst Fuchs
It was an unbelievable experience, yes. I often think about it...
(smiles)... His fate is really very hard - to be constantly criticised for being a charlatan - as a money-grabbing so and so. I often felt sorry for him. It's lonely at the top!

Compared to many other artists, you live very grandly, drive Rolls Royce, have a villa in Vienna and in France, a flat in Monte-Carlo...what does the term luxury mean to you?

Prof. Ernst Fuchs
I always had luxury in this sense - even when I was poor
(grinning). I have always built up my own world - even from my hotel room or from the corner in my regular café. You just have to have what it takes! Luxury is simply realising one's dreams...

His need for religious expression reflects touches of erotic ecstasy. For Ernst Fuchs, the naked body of a woman is a mirror of godly creation.

Prof. Ernst Fuchs:
When women first meet me (grinning), they are like Rubens' women. And then I cause them so much worry and work that they loose weight...(laughs) And then they go on at me for always painting such big women...but it's what I like. I have always painted portraits. Since my childhood one can say, it has always been drawing and painting - of people in particular, but also of animals, plants and nature on the whole. That has formed the basis of my work. I am also convinced . that in Europe particularly bipolarity is a part of art. Knowledge of nature and fantasy.


At his villa "Castell Caramel", hidden in the mountains of the South of France, I sat for Prof. Fuchs five days as a model for a "Cinderella" picture. During that time I have met many of his friends, including the very talented sculptress Anna Chromy, also known as the 'female Michelangelo'.
Shortly after Prof. Fuchs finished his painting, the motif was printed on posters and on the cover of the Cindarella ball's brochure. The gala was held at Schloss Klessheim during the Salzburg Festival with approximately 1000 guests attending the exclusive event.

You have a 'Cinderella picture' in your collection, one of the most expensive pictures that you have ever painted...

Prof. Ernst Fuchs
(laughs)..Yes, you know that...

I know that very well in fact. What significance does this picture have for you ?

Prof. Ernst Fuchs
It was so strange - the whole thing came about, if you like, in a single breath. I just moved to new atelier and was suddenly face to face with nature. I began to paint in another light, in the light of the South of France - I had always wanted that. I had already spent many years on the Côte d'Azur, always as a very money-starved artist, and had always hoped to be able to paint here one day. It was a terrific experience for me...!

As you remember, we got to know each other during this time, a time when I had just started to discover my garden, the walls and the plants and everything was new for me there. For me, your emergence (pointing at me) was to a certain extent like the 'unknown discovery'. That's what the prince does too when he takes the golden shoe - i.e. the icon, the measure itself - and compares it to the trivial, everyday see what is special about them and which kitchen maid is in fact a princess.

My personal meeting with the famous fairytale painter was doubtless a milestone in my life. Today, the 200.000 Dollar portrait is hanging in the Fuchs Villa and it's part of the famous Fuchs collection.


Prof. Ernst Fuchs
Even as a child, the "Villa Wagner" always embodied all I understand as beautiful. And when I bought it, I thought I would make my studio out of it and then when the house is as I want it to be, it should then also become my museum.

Whoever visits the magnificent Art Nouveau villa is immediately catapulted into a magical world. Ernst Fuchs is also a recognised sculptor and recently erected an enchanting Baroque fountain in his garden - each stone, each mosaic an example of the master's impressive work. Anybody wishing to know more about the magical world of Ernst Fuchs should visit his private museum in Vienna and let himself be enchanted by this most personal of kingdoms!


For the unique occasion of his 75th birthday and to delight all the friends of his magnificent art, Prof. Fuchs has created something special: the unique 14 ct. gold heart-shaped "Herzrubin-Kreuz” (Ruby-Heart-Cross). The edition comes with a certificate of authenticity, personally signed by the world-renowned artist. As it is only offered to his frriends and clients during the jubilee year 2005, it will certainly increase in value very soon

* This special feature "Prof. Ernst Fuchs" has been one of more than 200 VIP-Portraits, produced by Nathalie Gütermann for her TV-Shows Nathalie's Lifestyle and 'Nathalie's Art of Living' that were broadcasted between 1990 - 2003 in Germany and in 15 countries world-wide.

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