Friday, September 18, 2009

Bernie Fuchs: 1932-2009

When I walk into my office every morning the first thing I see is a Bernie Fuchs painting. I won it at a Society of Illustrators auction and was offered double the money as I was walking out the door with it. Obviously I didn't take it. Wasn't even tempted.

Three, four, maybe it was five years ago already, I was at Illustration House and they had a Bernie Fuchs painting of a young woman at diner. I don't know who won that auction but I'll never forget the piece and it's pink, green, and silver textures. My hope is that it eventually ends up in a public collection. I'd go far to see that painting again.

Not too long ago the Society purchased a Fuchs painting of a dinning room table and chairs and by pure composition and texture it becomes a deeply psychological space. And one of my biggest regrets will be eating lunch at the Society about three feet away from Bernie Fuchs and being too timid to say hello. It turns out, that was my only opportunity to meet him. He passed away last night, drawing to the end.

He was giant in the field, up there with Norman Rockwell, N. C. Wyeth, and Howard Pyle. He influenced a generation...even two....likely more. I wish he could be around to see all of it to come.


For more information on Bernie Fuchs, follow this search on David Apatoff's Illustration Art. David always speaks eloquently about illustration but his love for Fuchs' work has always particularly shown through his writing.


Rick Lovell said...

The term giant truly applies to this man. He was a demi-god when I was in school, and I always looked forward to seeing his next award-winning piece. Every brush stroke was a jewel. He will be missed.

El Bueno, El Malo y El Feo said...

I'm truly sad to learn that Bernie passed away. I hope he knew how loved and admired he was.

zillustration said...

So sorry to read this. Was up at Walt Reed's gallery this spring drooling over originals. A giant has passed.

Unknown said...

I remember the first Fuchs illustration I saw as a kid--a young boy in a field of yellow. Stunning in it's simplicity, but full of texture. Even though I didn't know what I was looking at then, it stayed with me. In college when an instructor intrduced me to Fuchs' work, I realized I was already a fan. Home on break, I dug out that old illustration, and yes, it was by Fuchs. He will be missed.


What an enormous loss. There is no one that can fill his shoes, though many copycats have tried to follow this legend of self-reinvention.

Bernie shaped illustration for more than have a century. Ripples will continue to be felt as long as the illustration profession exists.

thanks Bernie!

Jay Montgomery said...

Bernie truly made his mark in many ways. His truly magical work will be missed on the pages of all the future art competitions.

Unknown said...

So sad, he is loved and will be missed.

Mark Green said...

Irene, I was also too shy to introduce myself to Bernie when I had the chance in 1977 when he returned to his alma mater Washington University as a visiting artist where I was a sophomore art student. I was extremely lucky to have a second opportunity to meet him when he recently started having retrospectives of his work around Westport, CT. I invited him to be a visiting artist at a private school where I teach in Tarrytown, NY and spent one of the most glorious days of my life with him and his work. After a full day at school, he invited me back to his home for a studio visit and a drink. Aside from the powerful impact his work had on all kinds of artists and illustrators, including me, he was truly one of the kindest and generous men I've ever met.