Steve Martin invited artist Eric Fischl to St. Barts as soon as they met

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Steve Martin and famed New York artist Eric Fischl first hit it off years ago when Martin visited Fischl’s studio — and the movie star then invited the artist to join him on a tropical island.

“I’ve known him a long time,” Martin said at the New York Academy of Art’s virtual Tribeca Ball — which honored Fischl last week. “I have a vague recollection of going to his studio downtown,” Martin recalled, adding he also met Fischl’s wife, artist April Gornik, at the time. “I invited them to St. Barts for a weekend… I didn’t really know them that well. That’s where we really became friends.”

Martin said of the trip, “I would also have evenings with myself, April, Eric, Martin Short.”

Fischl later created artwork for Martin’s 1990s play, “Picasso at the Lapin Agile.” Martin recalled that after he told the artist what the play was about, Fischl, “got out his watercolors, and he dipped his brush in a color, and he dabbed it on the paper and did a swirl and there was the face of Picasso.”

Martin reminisced about the artist with one of the event’s fellow chairs, musician and artist Scott Avett, via Zoom.



Also at the event: Artist Kenny Scharf and Brooke Shields spoke about Andy Warhol. Co-chairs for the evening included Sarah Avett, Nicolas Bos of Van Cleef & Arpels, and Anne Stringfield.

The Tribeca Ball traditionally gives guests a chance to tour over 100 artists’ studios. But this year, the Academy of Art launched an online public gallery of MFA student artworks, with proceeds from sales going to scholarship and programming funds.

Martin recently told his Twitter followers: “Good news/Bad news. Good news: I just got vaccinated! Bad news: I got it because I’m 75. Ha!”

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