VISIONARY REVUE


VR - You are appreciated today for rediscovering the Mischtechnik. How did you develop it in your own work?
FUCHS - Seeing how most of my contemporaries used paint, like a heavy paste, it reminded me more and more like ... making pastry! Personally, I couldn't see how putting yellow, very thick on the canvas, would make it brighter. I didn't see the value of relief in painting either, except perhaps in Bonnard or Braque, where it could be of great importance. And, of course, Rembrandt!
      But, to me, it became a kind of 'senseless heroism' to throw around such big quantities of paint. So, I found out that glazing over a white ground made the colour even brighter. And then I got into the idea of studying the different possibilites - of developing a rich palette of colours with all the best glazes. If you go through a museum, looking at Dürer or Holbein, you can see that glazing was very important for them. And centuries before that, it was developed by the icon painters of the Russian and Greek schools. Throughout the centuries, they were using what was actually the basis of the Mischtechnik.
VR - You were also working on etching at the same time that you did your first Mischtechnik paintings. Did your etching influence your painting: the way you developed the painting?
FUCHS - Yes. And it was, most of the time, the cradle of pictorial ideas. Because, I am very given to drawing... I love to draw... line... and light and shadow... just by using a crayon. It was such a wonderful sensation... it still is really. But I realized very quickly that, since the fine pencil drawings would never sell at the prices they deserved, I ought to do them 'en masse'. I had to invest my time and my invention - by doing engravings or etchings.
VR - But the way you approached an etching, which is to say, with lots of lines and hatchings - didn't you bring that into your painting as well? Or did you just do it naturally?
FUCHS - Oh, that was done quite naturally. I did it in my earliest drawings, even as a child really. Hatching for me is like a kind of writing - a certain grasphism or even lettering. Because, there's a big difference between rendering a shadow by making many strokes of line and colour, or by taking a well-mixed turn from the palette with a big brush and making a broad stroke. It's different way of making your vision visible.


 
 
 


PARIS - SPRING 2004


SELF PORTRAIT AS THE EMPEROR OF AUSTRIA
1956
(Click to enlarge)

In this unfinished painting, we can see the elementals of the Mischtechnik. First, Fuchs has passed a reddish brown imprimatura over the entire drawing (the background). Then, on top of this he has used white egg tempera to build up the forms. The white egg tempera in the main figure and the curtains has already been glazed over once with oil colour mixed in an oleo-resinous vehicle (yellow ochre for the curtains, fleshtone for the skin, red for the hair). We can see in the curtain on the left that he has already begun the second layer of white egg tempera to build up the volume some more. This would later be glazed over a second time in a different colour. Meanwhile, the white egg tempera in the crown, the two-headed eagle and the monster in the foreground has not yet been glazed over. Their jewel-like transparency is achieved by many subtle variations in the white. The face of the eagle on the right has been gone over twice with the whites, while the one on the left only once.


My way is rather by cross-hatching. I build with lines. And so, for me, making etchings was a kind of primary invention of a picture.
VR - Do you have an idea what the final product will look like, or does it reveal itself to you slowly as you work on it?
FUCHS - Like the beginning of a dream - you don't know how its going to end... even if you are conscious to a certain degree.



 
 
 
 
 


<--LAST PAGE

 


NEXT PAGE -->

 
 


HOME

 


EDITORIAL

 


KALMAKOFF:
THE FORGOTTEN
VISIONARY

 


VISIONARY
ART
IN FRANCE

 


ERNST FUCHS
SPEAKS

 
 


KALMAKOFF
GALLERY

 


FRENCH
VISIONARY ART
GALLERY

 


MATI
KLARWEIN
REMEMBERED

 


KALMAKOFF
LINKS

 


FRENCH
VISIONARY ART
LINKS