The Vienna Secession was the ﬁrst movement that I consciously identiﬁed with. I remember seeing Schiele’s drawings in college and thinking “Man, that putrid green and pus colored prostitute is soooooo hot. And look at those tortured lines.” But that was art. And then when I began to study design I was also set on ﬁre by the secessionists’ astoundingly fresh and vigorous design work. Klimt, Moser, Kokoschka, et al were just amazingly gifted designers. Their poster work was one of the main inspirations for the entire 60s psychedelic look in America. Not to take anything away from Victor Moscoso or Wes Wilson (everyone has their artistic heritage), but without the Secession and Jugendstijl there is no psychedelic poster.
And then a few years ago my friend, last-of-the-sages Kenneth Smith, introduced me to the Viennese artist Ernst Fuchs. If the Secession was the ﬁrst conscious inﬂuence in my artistic self-culture then Fuchs may be most profound. For those that have ears let them hear, and eyes, let them see. For Ernst Fuchs is the creator of some of the most powerfully spiritual and visionary art since the likes of Bosch, Grünewald, Blake and the few others like them. His work is invested with a living energy that simply cannot be denied by anyone with open oriﬁces and an unshriveled mind.
So, you can imagine my delight when Mary and I traveled to Vienna for our honeymoon. I was able to visit the Olbrich designed Secession building and see Klimt’s Beethoven frieze. And I was euphoric at Professor Fuchs’ museum. Designed by Otto Wagner and refurbished and embellished by Fuchs himself the place was simply astounding. Professor Fuchs’ paintings virtually glow in person and to be in a room in which every piece was painted speciﬁcally for that spot was just awe inspiring. Next time you are in Vienna go check these places out. Until then I have some photos.
The Fuchs Museum
One of the rooms in the museum (all the furniture is also designed by Professor Fuchs)
Professor Fuchs contemplating my sketchbook (Imagine my delight when I was told he happened to be in town on business. He lives in France these days.)
Inside the temple designed by Fuchs, next to the museum