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Artists Eric Fischl
Eric Fischl Photo

Eric Fischl

American Painter and Sculptor

Movement: Neo-Expressionism

Born: 1948 - New York, New York

Eric Fischl Timeline

Quotes

"Art never is exactly what you hoped it would be. It always falls short."
Eric Fischl
"Discovery and execution should happen simultaneously on the canvas. That's real painting. I love that idea. It makes painting seem so important, so existential. You go into the void with just your wits and you just struggle through this thing."
Eric Fischl

"I vowed that I would never let the unspeakable also be unshowable. I would paint what could not be said."

Eric Fischl Signature

Synopsis

In the 1970s and 80s, Eric Fischl became Neo-Expressionism's noted bad boy with his psychologically charged depictions of American suburbia. His own dysfunctional childhood centered upon a mother who was desperately depressed and an alcoholic, which became a large influence on his paintings. Committed to "never let the unspeakable also be the unshowable" he offered a refreshingly unflinching glimpse of the underbelly in human relationships and everyday life, which lurked beneath society's manicured facade. His work invites us to reflect upon our own place within the worlds he portrays and to explore our hypocrisy, internal conflict and complacency. He asks that we never grow too comfortable. This keen critical analysis weaves from his earliest work through today in which he continues to welcome us to consider what's hidden beneath the exterior.

Key Ideas

Many of Fischl's paintings portray moments in which potential disaster or the taboo can be felt lingering on the periphery. They evoke feelings of discomfort or human vulnerability within the viewer transforming the personal into the universal.
Fischl's work can be seen as a way in which the artist processes his own internal conflicts. In the early suburban pieces we see him probe the unseen dynamics of family. In later pieces, showing the leisurely seaside lifestyles of the elite, we see him exploring his own place within its privilege. In recent work, highlighting participants at major art fairs, we see him emphasize the divide between the beauty of art making and the commodification of art within the market.

Biography

Eric Fischl Photo

Childhood and Education

Eric Fischl was born in New York City in 1948 to a salesman father and an artist mother. During his ensuing upbringing on Long Island, he and his three siblings experienced a stereotypical childhood ensconced in the burgeoning facade of American suburbia. His home life was secretly peppered with the dysfunctional behavior of his mother, a tragic character who articulated her depression through bouts of erratic rage assuaged by a teeming alcoholism. When reflecting on his childhood, Fischl disclosed that his mother often walked around the house naked and was even arrested for running through the neighborhood in the nude. The family strove to keep her struggle private and succeeded for the most part. There is no doubt that this hidden chaos provided him with an anxiety that would express itself later upon canvas.

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Eric Fischl Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Eric Fischl
Interactive chart with Eric Fischl's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Auguste RodinAuguste Rodin
Gustav KlimtGustav Klimt
Edgar DegasEdgar Degas
Edward HopperEdward Hopper

Personal Contacts

David SalleDavid Salle
Julian SchnabelJulian Schnabel

Movements

Abstract ExpressionismAbstract Expressionism

Influences on Artist
Eric Fischl
Eric Fischl
Years Worked: 1970s - present
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Lisa YuskavageLisa Yuskavage
John CurrinJohn Currin

Personal Contacts

Jerry SaltzJerry Saltz
David SalleDavid Salle
Julian SchnabelJulian Schnabel

Movements

Neo-ExpressionismNeo-Expressionism

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Content compiled and written by The Art Story Contributors

Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Kimberly Nichols

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by The Art Story Contributors
Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Kimberly Nichols
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