Studio: international art — 34.1905

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Otto Fischer

Had he entered upon the career mapped
out for him by his parents, Otto Fischer would
now be patrolling the streets of his native town,
Leipsic, as a policeman. It appears from this
that he was not one of those favourites of fortune
who had no difficulties to overcome. For neither
was he lucky enough to know from early childhood
what paths to choose when life lay open before
him, nor was he able, after he had finally found
the right path, to continue uninterruptedly in it.

What technical schooling Fischer received he
obtained at the Academy Schools in Dresden,
the town in which he concluded to settle after
his Academy days were over. Gey, Oehme, and
Prell were his masters, but Fischer belongs to
the class of men who are not likely to receive
much at another's hands. In spite of the years
spent in studios of various teachers we may say
he is practically self-taught. Such features as can
be learnt from a master—a brilliant technique, for
example, or a clever knack of realism—are not
apparent in his work. His distinguishing virtue—
a rare faculty of extracting out of nature that which
is grandly pictorial and noble—is not a thing which
can exactly be taught.

It is now nine years ago that Fischer attracted
public notice for the first time. In the year 1896
he received the first prize in the competition for a
poster for " Die alte Stadt," a sort of exhibition
side-show held at that time in Dresden. This
excellent sheet was the earliest of German modern
posters, and it has scarcely been excelled though
hundreds have followed. Even Fischer himself
has not put it in the shade by subsequent attempts,
of which he made a good number whilst the poster
craze lasted. The best of these attempts, by the
way, a splendid design in green and blue, for Miss
Foy, the serpentine dancer, was never transferred
to the stone.

The next work of importance Otto Fischer
achieved gave further evidence of his rare deco-
rative talents. It consisted of a number of mural
paintings for the " Kaiserpalast." Our artist was
only twenty-seven years old when he painted them,
and this alone is reason enough for us to be cautious
with our praise. Yet even when I see these pic
tures now, after smoke and exposure have consider-
ably deteriorated their quality, I still feel about them
as I did in the beginning. They are a remarkable
instance of how close can the approach be to the
spirit of Puvis de Chavannes without imitating

These pictures were reproduced in The Studio

"on the ridge of the sii.esian riesengebirge" from the pastel drawing by otto fischer

(By permission of Mr. Ernst Arnold., Dresden)

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