Eric Fischl was born in New York City in 1948. He grew up in the suburbs of Long Island, beginning his art education when his family moved to Phoenix, Arizona in 1967. His formal art schooling began at Phoenix College, followed by a year at Arizona State University and the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California where he earned his BFA in 1972.
After graduating Fischl spent time in Chicago working as a guard at the Museum of Contemporary Art. It was in Chicago that he was exposed to less traditional and mainstream art. The Chicago Imagists and groups like The Hairy Who were revelatory for Fischl, who saw their grotesque and surreal representations as a new possibility for his own art.
Fischl's suburban upbringing guides his work, a work engaged with taboo themes of sexuality and voyeurism. After moving to Nova Scotia in 1974, Fischl had his first solo show at Dalhousie Art Gallery. At this time, suburbia was considered far from a legitimate genre for art. His first New York City solo show, at Edward Thorp in 1979, was given critical attention for vividly addressing contemporary American life. Both dark and disturbing, the tension between the ideal image of the suburbs and the shadowed reality gives Fischl's work an undeniable potency.
Fischl has been the subject of numerous international solo and group exhibitions. His work is represented in numerous museums and both public and private collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art; The Whitney Museum of American Art; the Museum of Modern Art of New York City; the Museum of Contemporary Art of Los Angeles; the St. Louis Art Museum; Louisiana Museum of Art in Denmark; Paris’ Musee Beauborg, and many more. Artist collaborations are numerous and include E.L. Doctorow, Allen Ginsberg, and Jerry Saltz. Fischl is a Fellow at the American Academy of Arts and Letters as well as the American Academy of Arts and Science.
Eric Fischl is a senior critic at the New York Academy of Art and both founder and curator of America: Now and Here, an ambitious multi-disciplinary, travelling exhibition that will move cross-country in eighteen trucks. Fischl continues to live and work in Sag Harbor, New York with his wife, April Gornik.