Fischl was born in 1948 in New York City and grew up in the suburbs of Long Island. He began his art education in Phoenix, where he attended Phoenix College and earned his B.F.A. from the California Institute for the Arts in 1972. In 1974, he moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia, to teach painting at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Fischl had his first solo show at Dalhousie Art Gallery in Nova Scotia in 1975 before relocating to New York City in 1978.
Fischl’s paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints have been the subject of numerous solo and major group exhibitions, and his work is represented in many museums, as well as prestigious private and corporate collections, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Museum of Modem Art in New York City, The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, St. Louis Art Museum, Louisiana Museum of Art in Denmark, Musée Beaubourg in Paris, and many others.
In the late 1970s and early 80s, Eric Fischl’s work helped reinvest the traditional medium of painting with contemporary relevance. Fischl became well known for psychologically intense paintings, where extraordinary dreamlike scenes take place in suburban settings.