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Ernst Fuchs Moses and the Burning Bush

"This world of imagination is the world of eternity; it is the divine bosom into which we shall go after the death of the vegetated body. This world of imagination is infinite and eternal, whereas the world of generation, or vegetation, is finite and temporal. There exist in that eternal world the permanent realities of every thing which we see reflected in this vegetable glass of nature. All things are comprehended in their eternal forms in the divine body of the savior, the true vine of eternity, the human imagination"
-- William Blake

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he Society for the Art of Imagination was founded by the artist Brigid Marlin. The society began in 1961 in England as the Inscape group of artists meeting together in an informal way to work and exhibit together, to study with a subjects, and revive some of the forgotten crafts of painting. They took their name from a word invented by the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins meaning 'Inner Landscape'.

Brigid Marlin Self Portrait (detail)

They were inspired by the work and teaching of Prof. Ernst Fuchs, founder of the Vienna School of Fantastic Realism. They exhibited in Vienna, and in Paris with them, and went on to exhibit as a group around the world. For seven years the group traveled to Austria to the Summer Mische Technik (Mixed Technique) Seminars held at Castle Wartholz in Reichenau-and-der-Rax in the Austrian Alps, founded by Ernst Fuchs, developed by Wolfgang Männer and continued by Philip Rubinov-Jacobsen, to learn the egg tempera/resin-oil technique of the old masters as revived and taught by Ernst Fuchs.

The Society for Art and Imagination is fortunate in having Prof. Ernst Fuchs as Honorary President. He is a founder member of the Vienna School of Fantastic Realism and is its most prominent member. He has recently been commissioned to establish a Museum of Fantastic Art in the Saxe-Coburg Palace in Vienna. His art and dedication to the cause of art is an inspiration to all those working in this vein.

Ernst Fuchs Psalm 69

In his book "Architectura Caelestis" Prof. Fuchs writes of the "...mysterious greatness of man which was able to construct the electronic brain, the computer, ... but which also creates art, (which) works the purposeless and incalculable, immutable through nothing and by no one.

...Art in its deepest essence is the glorification of existence, the only true form worthy of man.... Without this vital medium we cannot bring forth culture; without its expression of creative man the increasingly powerful reign of the machine cannot be overcome... For the assertion of his creation is identical with the recognition of true order... a revelation of the human world in the cosmos."

In 1993 at a conference at Gravenegg Castle near Vienna Prof. Ernst Fuchs urged the world-wide promotion of Imaginative Art and suggested that there should be a Museum for Fantastic Art.

The challenge was taken up by Mauro Albarelli, who organised the largest exhibition of Fantastic and Visionary art ever staged. It took place in Venice and was attended by a record number of people.

This was followed in 1997 by an exhibition held in Germany at the Villa Rolandcheck Galleries, near Bonn. Rosemarie Bassi, an artist herself hosted this exhibition, which was another outstanding success.

Ernst Fuchs, The Triumph of the Unicorn,
1952, etching, 69.5x31.7cm

After this, we thought that there should be an event in England; home of Blake, Richard Dadd, and the Pre-Raphaelites. The members of Inscape decided that the time had come to expand their membership, to take on a more formal structure, and to explain more clearly what we represent. We would now be known as The Society for Art of the Imagination.

In November 1997 at a conference in Vienna the Saxe-Coburg Palace was designated as the home for a future Museum of Fantastic Art. The palace has since been acquired and the museum is now under construction under the supervision of Prof. Fuchs. There are tentative plans to establish a sister museum in Sedona, Arizona, U.S.A.

The annual event of our Society is the Art of Imagination at the Mall Galleries in London.

Virginia Rogers of Chicago has become our patron and donates £10,000.00 every year to be awarded as prize money and Daler-Rowney have also established an award of £500.00 worth of art materials. Each exhibition has been very successful, and we have members now from all over the world, and are still planning and growing.

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All artists working in the fantastic/surreal/visionary
vein are invited to join the Society for the Art of  Imagination.

The Society for the Art of  Imagination runs a prestigious annual Open Exhibition at the Mall Galleries, London, with cash prizes worth £10,000.

The next annual Open Exhibition is set for October 2-7, 2000.

Diana Hesketh Leopard

For further information contact:

Brigid Marlin
The Society for the Art of Imagination
P.O. Box 240
GB-Berkhamstead HP4 1HE
Tel: +44 1 442 25 4259
Fax: +44 1 442 86 4454



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