Thursday, September 24, 2009

Bernie Fuchs and the Illustrators Workshop

TI list member and frequent contributor, Harold Henriksen, sent the scan below, which he calls "a favourite painting by Bernie Fuchs".

As well, Harold shares the following anecdote about meeting the artist...

Harold writes, "I first saw Bernie's work when I was my first year of art school in 1959 and have clipped his and other illustrators work since. I was hired as an illustrator in 1967 and was in my late thirties when I attended The Illustrators Workshop."

"It was from June 26-July 22, 1977. My wife and three daughters one, three and four yrs. old went in my '76 Rabbit. My wife & daughters stayed with friends in Queens & I went to Marymount College in Tarrytown, New York."

"We were instructed to bring a comp sketch for an assignment we would do at the workshop. We would do one more after the first was completed. After meeting the faculty we showed our comps & received suggestions. Each of the artists showed slides and spoke about their work on succeeding days. We visited the artists studios in their homes or in Bob Peak's case a building he had his studio in."

"When it was Bernie's turn he said he felt like he was on the gong show, then his first slide came on and it the audience reacted with awe. When he spoke to you about a piece of your work he had crits that were useful and encouraged us to find our own way."

"When we went to his studio at his home his oil paintings were rolled & tied."

"He was pleased when some of the first to arrive mistook him for another student."

"He was friendly and for one so supremely gifted was humble and easy to talk to."

"I am glad I was able to attend at the time and still am."

* Many thanks to Harold Henriksen for sharing his story and the scan at top, as well as the Illustrators Workshop brochure page below it.

* The remaining scans today are courtesy of Charlie Allen - thanks Charlie!

* My Bernie Fuchs Flickr set.


  1. This is a fantastic series, Leif. I was shocked to hear of his passing. I loved his work from the first time I saw it in the late '70s as an art student. One of the things I like best about his work is his almost preternatural composition sense, which really shines in these examples. The only one that seems a little different than the others here is the "Charles Vandevere" illustration: it's very reminiscent of Al Parker to me for some reason. Is that a piece from earlier in his career? It is beautiful as well, but just different. Please keep posting his work, he really was an illustrator in a class all his own. God bless Bernie Fuchs.

  2. Wow. Bernie Fuchs is an astounding draftsman.

  3. I was lucky enough to receive a partial scholarship to the 3rd Illustrators Workshop (from the workshop members themselves) in, I believe, 1979. It was my only true art class, being self-taught, and all of these guys, as well as the visiting artists, were amazing. I was awestruck. During those three intense weeks, perhaps my favorite moment, or at least the most memorable one, was when Bernie and Bob Heindel came into my dorm room (at Marymount College, Terrytown, NY), and said "See that painting? You're in trouble!" Thanks. Bernie, I'll never forget ya.

    Greg Voth, Jersey City, NJ