Eric Fischl emerged in the 1980s as one of America's most important figurative painters. His paintings, many of which show a single intense moment, compel the viewer to participate in a world of middle-class suburban ambiguity and drama. In Fischl's engaging distinctly American canvases, narrative, morality, sexuality, and psychology are preeminent.
This volume, an expanded edition of Eric Fischl 1970-2000, is the most comprehensive examination of this important contemporary painter. More than 250 works, selected in conjunction with the artist, present the full scope of Fischl's career: the formative work of the 1970s; the breakthrough paintings of the 1980s, including the controversial Sleepwalker and Bad Boy; and the mature work, often of a personal and contemplative nature, of the 1990s and 2000s. In his most recent paintings, Fischl has turned to multipiece cycles: The Bed, The Chair series, starting with The Philosopher's Chair; canvases inspired by trips to Italy and India; and the paintings—Fischl terms them "narrative fictions"—of the "Krefeld Project." These engrossing images have been accomplished with a mastery that has been compared to that of Caravaggio.
The introduction, by philosopher and critic Arthur C. Danto, offers a perceptive study of Fischl's work over the course of four decades. Commentary drawn from interviews with the artist, conducted by noted writer Robert Enright, accompanies the paintings. Finally, a witty and personal afterword by Steve Martin, best known as a gifted comic actor and author, but also an astute collector of modern art, discusses Barbeque, a famed Fischl painting from his private collection.