I met Ernst Fuchs for the first time in the year 1973 on the occasion of an exhibition of his works in the "Baukunst" in Cologne. As a person he was of great interest to me at once; I was just as impressed by his works that I encountered there in the originals for the first time. Fuchs proved to be very open with me and confessed that as a child he had collected postcards of my works. So we hit if off quickly and saw each other regularly in Paris, Düsseldorf or Vienna.
What prejudices me in favor of Fuchs is his great intelligence, the enormous range of his reading and his scintillating phantasy which gushes forth like a long pent up fountain and enthusiastically carries everything along with it; it never seems to run dry. In him one sees a culture of a three thousand year old heritage that he represents in his works. The earliest beginnings of western culture in the two-river country of Mesopotamia, that of the Babylonians and of the Assyrians, are present in him just as are classical Greece and the medieval mysticism of the Kabala. In contrast to my works, those of Fuchs have a strong literary background that characterizes his world of motifs, for whatever in sculpture cannot be represented in a thematic sense can nevertheless be a rewarding task in painting.
If one follows Fuchs openly and readily, then he will easily arrive at the intellectual origins of Europe and its religious situations, which did not spring completely from the head of Zeus, but were formed by an evolution with many dreams, many errors and many personal sacrifices.
Fuchs is a phenomenal sketch artist and since his youth has been a paragon of talent. His painting can be compared to that of the Old Masters in his command of technique. In his manipulations of etching techniques he has advanced so far that he can effortlessly employ them in order to give shape to his imagination. His lines, his inventions and his ornamental embellishments are a miraculous oriental inheritance that he carries in himself. Fuchs is so noble that he cannot live without figures. Yet he has nevertheless not forgotten ornamentation. Everywhere there is a plantlike or geometric artistic invention which, however, is not forced or blundered away, but it becomes a question of an experienced connection to the metaphorical. When I visited Fuchs once at his home, the art nouveau villa of Otto Wagner in Vienna, he said to me, "I strive for the total work of art; everything else is fragmentary." If Fuchs did not have this talent for the whole picture, then he would never have had a feeling for the Villa Wagner. He is full of culture through and through, and his foundation in this culture is expressed in the interior decoration of the villa. Fuchs has furnished it most extensively himself with his own tapestries, fabrics, furniture, pictures, sculptures and other objects of everyday life. His effort to create the total work of art in which the different arts are united would not be conceivable without his never flagging work. He is an indefatigable worker who has the ability to paint or to draw and almost simultaneously to complement such activity with writing poetry, sketching or composing music. The artistic element promotes the poetic and vice versa.
Thus Fuchs also undertakes no journey without storing up material for new projects along in his luggage, be it a half prepared etching plate or a manuscript which he still wants to edit. Steadfastly Fuchs finds himself in a state of creative unrest which drives him from creation to creation. He is intoxicated with his work, not by drugs. Ernst Fuchs is constantly in the one frame of mind: to create something great.
An excerpt from the book The Collected Writings by Arno Breker.
Translated from the German by Dr. Benjiman D. Webb.
Copyright C 1987 Edition MARCO/ABSI, 10545 Main Street, Clarence, New York 14031 (USA).