The Vienna School of Fantastic Realism

What is the Vienna School of Fantastic Realism? When was the term founded and who are the famous representatives? Where in Vienna can you learn and see more about it?

The art critic Josef Muschik founded the term Viennese School of Fantastic Realism in the 1950s. It is an Austrian art movement that is close to Surrealism. The Austrian painter and writer Albert Paris Gütersloh is regarded as the intellectual father.


The painter Rudolf Hausner founded this surrealist-like movement with Edgar Jenè in 1946. Ernst Fuchs, Wolfgang Hutter, Fritz Janschka, Anton Lehmden, Helmut Leherb and Arik Brauer followed. The painters are guided by the technical perfection of the Old Masters (Breughel, Bosch, Danube School), but clearly distance themselves from the abstract way of painting.

In 1959, the first major exhibition in the Belvedere brought it’s international breakthrough. The motifs of the pictures are often apocalyptic visions, mythical and cosmic dreams. The mannerist-style in the fine painting is typical. Many representatives were still affected by the horrors of the Second World War, which is also reflected in the pictures.

Subsequently, Kurt Regschek, Herbert Benedikt, Franz Luby, Richard Matouschek, Peter Proksch and Friedensreich Hundertwasser joined.

Over 150 works by the Vienna School of Fantastic Realism can be viewed in the Palffy Palace. The Fuchs Villa with the works of Ernst Fuchs is particularly worth seeing, as is the private collection of Arik Brauer and temporary exhibitions of the artists in various Viennese museums.


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