About The Artist
A pioneer of modernism in Los Angeles, Oskar Fischinger is celebrated for his transcendent and metaphysical oil paintings, as well as for his groundbreaking work in abstract film animation. Born in 1900 in Germany, Fischinger began making animated short films in his early 20s. By the early 1930s, his experimental films were hugely popular and widely viewed, winning him international attention.
Fischinger was a champion of pure abstraction. Using techniques as basic as stop-motion filming and materials as simple as paper cut-outs hung by invisible wire, Fischinger produced astonishing visual effects by which brightly-colored, geometric shapes and spirals swooped, spun, and danced across the screen, shot forward, receded, and vanished. At the height of the Nazi regime in Germany, Fischinger accepted a deal with Paramount and left for Hollywood in 1936. There he worked in succession for Paramount, MGM, and Disney, but grew increasingly frustrated at every stop with the studios’ narrow conception of film as nothing more than a medium for storytelling. In response, Fischinger turned to painting as a creative outlet—one he pursued with vigor for the rest of his life.
His artwork is often compared to that of Kandinsky and Klee, though Fischinger's paintings uniquely embody a sense of cinematic movement. His forms resonate and pulse, move in waves, swell, and burst; or else they drift quietly in cosmic space. For Fischinger, these abstractions were means to transcendent ends. He sought, through painting, to escape the earthly, and to hint at the eternal.
Moritz, William. Optical Poetry: The Life and Work of Oscar Fischinger. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 2004. Print. Karlstrom, Paul J., and Susan Ehrlich. Turning the Tide: Early Los Angeles Modernists, 1920-1956. Santa Barbara: Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1990. Print.