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Ernst Fries       MFA 


Ernst's CV

Ernst Fries (pron. 'freeze') was born in Wurzburg, Germany in 1934. As a child he experienced the destruction by bombing of Wurzburg and has written an account of wartime life "Life on the Other Side" - copies available for at: [email protected]

After the war, in 1953, he lived and studied gold & silver-smithing in Switzerland and in 1959 immigrated to Australia with his new Swiss wife Rosmarie.

He was soon working full time as a silversmith utilizing vitreous enamel to create individually designed jewellery and hollow ware for churches.

Early exhibitions were dominated by works in silver and enamel but a leaning towards sculpture was recognised as early as 1965 by art critic Donald Brook, in his exhibition review in the Canberra Times.

His early sculptures were figurative bronzes but he soon changed to creating more abstract work using mild steel and stainless steel. He also became interested in the use of Dalle de Verre glass set in concrete and polyurethane.

Ernst was President (several times) of the Association of Sculptors of Victoria and from 1983 to 1988 was President of the Australian National Committee of International Association of Art (UNESCO). In this capacity he attended world congresses in Germany, Iraq, Spain, Japan and Mexico.

In 1984-1985 he was granted a 12 month studio residency in the City of Wurzburg, Germany, where he was born. He lived, worked and held a successful exhibition in Wurzburg before returning to Melbourne.

Ernst was re-elected as President of IAA from 1992 to 1997 and during this time he initiated and organised the International Sculpture Event in Toolangi in 1996.

In 2000 Ernst organised a major exhibition of traditional indigenous (Tiwi) art accompanied by 3 of the Tiwi artists on a tour of Germany which was unique and well-received.

Ernst has had many solo exhibitions in public and commercial galleries and has participated in many important group exhibitions such as 'The Emigrants' in the Australian National Gallery in Canberra and 'Treasures from Australian Churches' in the National Gallery of Victoria.

His work is widely represented in public, corporate and private collections nationally and overseas and is exhibited at Art at Linden Gate.

In 2010 Ernst completed his Master of Fine Art at Monash University with his research on Light, Colour, Spatiality through the medium of Dalle de Verre.

Ernst completed several commissions in 2012 and the highlight of 2013 was creating the glass and concrete panels for the Yarra Glen Black Saturday Bushfire Memorial which is situated in Mackenzie Reserve, Yarra Glen.

2014 was a milestone for Ernst as his 80th year. A retrospective exhibition was held covering his 6 decades of art practice and Ernst completed his long anticipated 6 metre tall, kinetic Wind Cube.

In March 2016 a selection of his smaller sculptures where exhibited at the Asia Contemporary Art Show in Hong Kong.

2017 saw Ernst working on a commission for Yarra Ranges Council creating a public sculpture for Wandin North, due to be installed in November 2017.

Ernst continues creating stainless steel sculptures often incorporating glass and occasional commissions. For details on upcoming exhibitions refer to Art at Linden Gate Gallery website.

Ernst passed away in March 2020

sculptures can be viewed at:

Art at Linden Gate

889 Yarra Glen-Healesville Road

Yarra Glenn 3775 Vic

or by appointment 03 9730 1861

email: [email protected]