Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Bernie’s professional art training began at the School of Fine Art at Washington University in St. Louis. His style was developed in the studios of Detroit, where his illustrations for automobile ads were an immediate success. This popularity was noted by the magazine publishers in New York, whose assignments brought Bernie national recognition. This success prompted a move to Westport, Connecticut, the artists’ colony on Long Island Sound.
Bernie had married his childhood neighbor, the former Anna Lee Hesse, and they have three children; Derek, Ellise and Cindy. Fluid and evocative are words often used to describe his style. Bernie adds, “it took a long time to develop that, to really study and control looseness.” He used this style very remarkably in a recent reportage portfolio of English pubs for Lithopinion, a magazine which has allowed him a free hand to travel and paint such varied events as the races at Longchamps in Paris and the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain. His work has also taken him to London, Central America, the Caribbean Islands, including Cuba.

General Motors Illustration 1960
From journalofseeing.files.wordpress.com

Mr. Fuchs (pronounced Fewks) was a prominent member of a group of illustrators called the Westport school, because for years many of them lived in and around Westport. His work was so popular that it was routinely mimicked by illustrators and students. He was not bothered by creative pilfering and shared his methods and techniques, first as an instructor for the Famous Artists School, one of the best-known correspondence courses, and later as a founder of the Illustrators Workshop. The Ivy League of commercial art programs, the workshop was taught by the illustrators Alan E. Cober, Fred Otnes, Mark English, Robert Heindel and Bob Peak. Artists from all over the country applied to study there with Mr. Fuchs.
(STEVEN HELLER at nytimes.com)

Crowd outside Ebbets Field

Bernie initial ambition was to be a trumpet player but he lost 3 fingers after an industrial accident in the summer of his graduation. Even though he lost those fingers on his drawing hand, he pursued art and attended Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. Inspirations to Bernie include the illustrators of the 1940′s and 50′s and the Impressionist movement, particularly Degas. Bernie primarily works in oil washes and graphite line work. Bernie has a wonderful sense of color and his style is very reminiscent of the 40′s and 50′s.

From file.vintageadbrowser.com

Crêpes Suzette, 1950
From johnmariani.com

Send-off to the 2000-mile Race
From thesocietyofthespectacle.com

The Talisman
From imageshack.us

Horse Racing
From p2.la-img.com

Bobby Jones-Interlachen
From art-obsession.co.jp

Near the Pantheon
From art-obsession.co.jp

Augusta 15th hole
From art-obsession.co.jp

Ruin with Bike
From art-obsession.co.jp

Bernie first job was illustrating car advertisements for an art studio in Detroit. Within a few years of moving to Detroit, Fuchs' opened the studio The Art Group, which specialized in work for the city's auto companies. In the late 1950s, Fuchs moved to Westport, Connecticut where he began doing illustrations for McCalls, Redbook, The Ladies Home Journal, Sports Illustrated and other magazines. Fuchs was commissioned for the illustration of four U.S. postage stamps released in 1998. The stamps featured folk musicians Huddie "Leadbelly" Ledbetter, Woody Guthrie, Sonny Terry, and Josh White. Fuchs also illustrated several children's picture books, including Ragtime Tumpie and Carolina Shout!, both written by Alan Schroeder. He painted portraits of several U.S. Presidents, including John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, as well as of such athletes and celebrities such as Muhammad Ali, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Ted Koppel and Katharine Hepburn.

Portrait of Pres. Kennedy
From liveauctioneers.com

His portraits of John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and later United States presidents were more human in both pose and expression than most other official portraits. When Kennedy’s portrait was finished, the president was so delighted that he had it sent to the Soviet Union as part of a traveling exhibition. Johnson, however, was stone faced when he saw his portrait for the first time. Mr. Fuchs showed him putting his glasses in his suit pocket; apparently the president did not want anyone to know he wore glasses.
(STEVEN HELLER at nytimes.com)

Tony Curtis
From SPD at spd.org

In the late 1980s, Mr. Fuchs was tired of illustrating for the same old products. “The illustration business started boring the hell out of me,” he admitted. Although he took some solace in doing portraiture for TV Guide and the profiles section of The New Yorker, he found children’s books a more exciting challenge. He also created eight United States postage stamps, but working in such a small space was not exactly the challenge he savored, so for a while he turned to making television commercials and industrial films. A spot he did for the soft drink Mountain Dew received many Art Directors Club awards. Ultimately, he could not stay away from paint and brush, but his style fell out of fashion by the 1990s with the advent of conceptual, metaphorical editorial illustration. His work began to appear more in galleries than on the printed page, but in recent years the Bernie Fuchs approach has been making a gradual comeback in the eclectic mix of styles that make up American illustration.
(STEVEN HELLER at nytimes.com)

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