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White Gray Black

Eric Fischl (American, born 1948)

About this artist

Source: Oxford University Press

American painter, draughtsman and printmaker. After completing his BFA at the California Institute of Arts in Valencia, CA, in 1972, he taught from 1974 to 1978 at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax, NS. In 1978 he returned to New York and began to produce paintings in a naturalistic style of uncomfortably intimate scenes of middle-class suburban existence and burgeoning sexuality, as in Master Bedroom (1983; Los Angeles, CA, Mus. Contemp. A.), in which a nearly naked girl in hair-curlers kneels on a double bed with her arms around a large dog. By depicting the figures larger than life, he placed the viewer in the role of a child, exaggerating the psychological force of the situations by presenting them as if retrieved from memory. The historical lineage proposed by critics for the bravura technique of these works includes the paintings of Manet, Balthus and Edward Hopper, but the clear reliance on photography suggests a debt to the Photorealism of the 1960s. Perhaps to counter the misapprehension of his pictures as Neo-Expressionist, in the mid-1980s Fischl exaggerated their formal quality by fragmenting the image on to a series of separate panels overlapping at different angles, as in Portrait of a Dog (1987; New York, MOMA), a solution already explored in his six-part colour etching the Year of the Drowned Dog (1983; see exh. cat., p. 43).

Marco Livingstone
From Grove Art Online

© 2009 Oxford University Press

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