Curator’s Statement

The Tourist: Self Portrait

His sketchpad, a constant companion, became his vehicle for documenting everything he saw in the world around him.

Dave Fox lived in Vienna until he was forced to leave due to the Nazi annexation of Austria. He left Vienna, not by choice, but because staying in Vienna meant risking his life. Dave crossed the German-Belgium border, seeking refuge in Belgium. From there he went to the United States in December 1939, and settled in Los Angeles. So profound was this change to his life that he only passed through Vienna once or twice during the next 70 years. In the fall of 2009, Dave chose to return to Vienna. More importantly, he returned as an accomplished artist, to share his art and the powerful stories that each work tells.

Dave adjusted to life in California with the assistance of the German/Jewish Hiking Club, part of the Jewish Federation Refugee Assistance Program. Once settled in the United States Dave was inducted into and served with the U.S. Army in the Philippines and Japan. Returning to the U.S., Dave studied at some of the early renowned art schools in Los Angeles.

His early art training was another defining moment in his life, and both his abilities as an artist, and his style, emerged as a result of this high level of training. It was also at this time that Dave began to articulate the subjects and media that would define him and identify him as an artist. He studied with well-known artists such as Rico Lebrun, Frances de Erderly, Emil Bistram and Guy McCoy, who introduced Dave to printmaking. He went on to earn his BFA, MA and MFA. Dave dedicated his life to perfecting his skills at drawing, painting and ceramics with special emphasis in printmaking.

Dave was an observer of life and translated all that he saw, heard and experienced into his artwork. Growing up in Vienna, the countryside had been his playground. Dave belonged to skiing and hiking groups where he gained his observation skills. His childhood in Vienna would leave a lasting impression on him that would continually influence his art and his world view. He transferred these skills to his new life in Los Angeles. His sketchpad, a constant companion, became his vehicle for documenting everything he saw in the world around him.

His early works from the late 1940s and early 1950s captured the ever-changing landscapes of Los Angeles. The California landscape from the mountains to the Pacific Ocean and all of the streets in-between continually served as the backdrop for his creative expression. Dave divided his artwork equally between landscapes, people and abstracts.

Throughout his long career he returned again and again to themes that reflected on his Jewish upbringing and a life long commitment to Judaism. Other works were also symbolic of his early memories of life in Vienna, including the influence of the theatre. Dave’s artwork brings together all of the pieces of his life and pays homage to the accomplishment of one man who stayed true to his vision to make sure his voice was heard and not silenced.

Into his nineties, Dave still painted everyday and continued to be a keen observer of the world around him. Dave was married to Senta Fox (also a survivor refugee from Germany) for 65 years. He had two children and four grandchildren.

Georgia Freedman-Harvey
Curator for the Dave Fox Collection