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Bernie Fuchs:Illustration Studies

Art Walk Highlights with Bernie Fuchs

August 6, 2014 - Susan Viebrock

Fuchs came from modest beginnings in the small, Midwest town of O’Fallon, Illinois. By age six, he had determined to become a musician in Glenn Miller’s band. Had it not been for an industrial accident that cost him three fingers on his right hand he might have become a leading jazz trumpeter like his friend Jack Sheldon. Instead, a tough love art teacher at Washington University School of Fine Art in St. Louis taught Fuchs how to draw holding the chalk with his remaining fingers. A prodigy, Fuchs wound up turning the field of commercial illustration on its head, becoming the youngest artist ever to be elected into the Illustrators Hall of Fame.

Over the years, Fuchs worked regularly and steadily for all the major automobile companies, publications fromSports Illustrated (25 years) to The New Yorker, McCall’s, CosmopolitanLadies Home Journal, and TV Guide, as well for advertising agencies and large corporations from Rolex to Citigroup. He illustrated dozens of children’s book. Fuch’s illustrious clients included political titans – JFK, Queen Elizabeth, Lyndon Johnson, the Reagans – and celebrities, among them, Frank Sinatra, Katherine Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Sean Connery, and Pablo Cassals.

Throughout his career, Fuchs was agnostic about which instrument or medium he used. He was always about the best tool for the job. The man has worked with equal facility in casein, acrylics, watercolor, pastels, pen-and-ink, commercial film, and varieties of mixed media.