We said goodbye over the weekend to our dear Fritz. His indelible creativity, intellect and wicked sense of humor gave him a passion for life that I can only hope to emulate. He and my wonderful aunt Porter are the inspiration and namesake behind my business and I am grateful beyond words to have had him in my life for so many years. #restinpeace #fritzjanschka
Here is a little more about his life, his work, and his love for my aunt Porter.
Fritz began his career when he enrolled at the Akademie dur bildende Kunst (Vienna Academy of Visual Arts) in his native Vienna, Austria just after World War II. He and some friends went on to form the Fantastic Realism movement in Europe.
Vicky Morrison, a journalist once wrote: "The artwork of the movement sometimes is compared to the surrealist movement, however, it is distinguished by its strict engagement in fantasy. As the name implies, compositions exist in a fantastic realm, created by the wild imaginations of the artists. A realist quality provides precise detail to the subject matter of figures, landscapes and more, balancing out the radical surreality."
“That’s fantasy — All coming out of our heads,” he once said.... This self-portrait is quite a literal interpretation.
He was always inspired by literature. One of his favorite writers was James Joyce, and many of his paintings were influenced by his works such as Ulysses and Finnegans Wake.
“The artist, like the God of the creation, remains within or behind or beyond or above his handiwork, invisible, refined out of existence, indifferent, paring his fingernails. ”
— James Joyce
He found the love of his life while a teaching at Bryn Mawr College in the mid-70s...and their flame burned for nearly 40 years. Porter, a fiery redhead with a penchant for art history, has incredible culinary prowess and a shared passion for music and culture, forever captured the heart of the soft-spoken intelligent artist with a sharp wit. Despite their vast age difference, theirs was a love for the ages...
Porter and Fritz on their wedding day 1977
“Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction. ”
— Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Porter and Fritz a few years later in Danville, VA
One of his many self-portraits....the original selfie.
Fritz would always make us cards for our birthday, and many years later, it has turned into quite a collection! It just goes to show the extent of his thoughtfulness and humor.
I stumbled upon this wonderful video about Fritz's life a few days ago. Hearing his voice in the interview, with his soft Austrian accent, makes me feel like I am at the dinner table with him again, listening to the fascinating stories of his life....he did have quite a journey!
If you have a few minutes, check out this exclusive video slideshow by Joe Scott, Fritz. It offers commentary on an eclectic sampling of his artwork, sharing decades of insight on his career, his craft and his life.
“Better pass boldly into that other world, in the full glory of some passion, than fade and wither dismally with age. ”
— James Joyce
Rest in Peace, Fritz....you will be missed. Gute Nacht....
Fritz Janschka, 1919-2016