Eric Fischl was born in New York City in 1948 and grew up in the suburbs of Long Island. He began his art education in Phoenix, Arizona where his parents had moved in 1967. He attended Phoenix College and earned his B.F.A. from the California Institute for the Arts in 1972. He then spent some time in Chicago, where he worked as a guard at the Museum of Contemporary Art. In 1974, he moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia, to teach painting at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. In 1975, Fischl had his first solo show curated by Bruce W. Ferguson, at the Dalhousie Art Gallery in Nova Scotia before relocating to New York City in 1978.
Fischl’s suburban upbringing provided him with a backdrop of alcoholism and a country club culture obsessed with image over content. His early work thus became focused on the rift between what was experienced and what could not be said. His first New York City solo show was at Edward Thorp Gallery in 1979, during a time when suburbia was not considered a legitimate genre for art. He first received critical attention for depicting the dark, disturbing undercurrents of mainstream American life.
Fischl’s paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints have been the subject of numerous solo and group exhibitions and his work is represented in major museums and various prestigious private and corporate collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Museum of Modern Art in New York City, The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, Louisiana Museum of Art in Denmark, Musèe Beaubourg in Paris, The Paine Weber Collection and many others. Fischl has also collaborated with other artists and authors including E. L. Doctorow, Allen Ginsberg, Jamaica Kincaid, Jerry Saltz and Frederic Tuten.
Eric Fischl is also the founder, president and lead curator of America: Now and Here – a multi-disciplinary exhibition of 150 of some of America’s most celebrated visual artists, musicians, poets, playwrights and filmmakers designed to spark a national conversation about American identity through the arts. The project launched in May 5, 2011 in Kansas City before traveling to Detroit and Chicago. Fischl is a fellow at both the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Science.
He lives with his wife, painter April Gornik and works in Sag Harbor, New York.