The Vienna School of Fantastic Realism…sign me up!

Tyler and I arrive at the main doors leading to the Phantasten Museum Weis, a dusty yet colorful theatre footsteps away from the “Museum Quarter” in VIENNA, Austria. What appears to be a theatre on the outside, is also home to several great painters of the Visionary Arts, both past and present.

The Phantasten Museum Weis certainly stands out among the rest, with its rustic charm dating back centuries old. Red curtains and golden tassels shimmer and meet us with beaming personality as we make our way upstairs to the exhibit hall. Stained glass windows sparkle with warm autumn colors cascading throughout the corridor accentuating highlights of fanciful paintings and signs peaking out through the nearly vacant hallways. Sounds of excitement and dramatic voices echo from the far chambers of the building. Theirs are the sounds of theatre rehearsal at play.

Walking up the staircase, we pay homage to the pioneers of Fantastic Realism, whose names are etched in the very steps leading up to the Museum. Heironimus Bosch’s name catches my eye, as fond memories spark a moment of a time, many, many, many moons ago when I was an adoring fan and a young art student at Chico State University.

Colorful paintings shimmer and shine, naturally leading us up a couple more flights of stairs. The stained glass windows capture my attention. I pause to take a few photos… and then some more. Tyler travels on ahead up the staircase. We meet at the third floor where a woman appears ready and gladly available to take our tickets.

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An amazing collection of Fantastic Realism and Visionary Art Books sits to the right of the entrance. Brain candy for the creative soul, they are indeed! Oh how tempting it would be to gather a book for our travels, and if they weren’t so gigantic, I would perhaps consider it. For now, I will simply enjoy the show.

Entering the first room of the exhibit, we are swept away by the tapestries hanging high above. Printed upon the tapestries are the names and dates of the pioneers of Fantastic Realism, several of them the very inspiration and pioneers of the Vienna School of Fantastic Realism.

Tyler and I enjoy a peaceful and quiet walk throughout the exhibit, enjoying some spacious moments on our own, meandering at our own pace, from room to room. I am quite moved and inspired by the luminous nature of the paintings. Tyler seems to be enjoying it, too! Oh how the visionary artists of the past and present beautifully bridge the visionary gap of the then and now, offering creative glimpses into the future.

Tyler and I find our way back to each other, both admiring the paintings and sculptures in the final room of the exhibit, inspired and excited to share. I take a silent moment to express my appreciation and gratitude for the artists of the past, while feeling the common thread that flows through the art of all the Visionary artists today such as Alex Grey, H.R Giger, Amanda Sage, and many many others, including several personal friends and allies that are birthing their unique visions, in so many different ways in this very moment!

divinely inspired,
Ali Sun Trees

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To share a bit of background on the Fantastic Realism movement as well as the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, with a bit more accuracy, than I will ever attempt to offer, I did a little research in the interest of our readers. Here is some of what I discovered:

“The Vienna School of Fantastic Realism is a group of artists founded in Vienna in 1946. It includes Ernst Fuchs, Arik Brauer, Rudolf Hausner, Wolfgang Hutter, Anton Lehmden and Fritz Janschka, all students of Professor Albert Paris Gütersloh at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts. It was Gütersloh’s emphasis on the techniques of the Old Masters that gave the fantastic realist painters a grounding in realism (expressed with a clarity and detail some have compared to early Flemish painting) combined with religious and esoteric symbolism.”

“The Vienna School of Fantastic Realism are a living legend. For more than half a century, the painters of the Fantastic Realism have been an internationally recognized phenomenon of Austrian art with a special focus on Vienna. It was a powerful force within the Austrian art having many diverse manifestations and expressions.

The Vienna Fantastics have an important place in the European and international context of art, not only by their influential effect, but also from teaching almost forgotten traditional painting techniques.”

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