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A Real Peach

A Real Peach

Laura Nash on Anton Otto Fischer’s 1929 Untiled Peach Harvest Painting

8 September 2016

Laura Nash, Cataloger for Rago’s Great Estates Department, explores the life and legacy of Anton Otto Fischer and details an untitled work by this famed American illustrator coming to our Great Estates Auction on September 10th.

A renowned illustrator of American life in the mid-20th century, Anton Otto Fischer came to the United States as a deckhand on a German ship. After settling in New York, Fischer was briefly employed by artist Arthur Burdett Frost; a position that introduced him to a career in illustration. He moved to Paris to attend the Academie Julian for two years, studying under the esteemed historical painter, Jean Paul Laurens. Upon his return to the US, Fischer fell under the influence of Howard Pyle, one of the most prolific and celebrated illustrators of the day. Fischer began creating and selling work to Harper’s Weekly and The Saturday Evening Post, commissions that would continue throughout his lifetime. He also illustrated novels such as Moby Dick, Treasure Island and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Fischer’s most notable post was that of artist laureate for the United States Coast Guard during World War II. This opportunity allowed him to celebrate the most underrepresented of the country’s servicemen. His drawings are now archived in the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut.

Estimate: $1,500 – 2,500

Over the course of his career, Fischer completed over 1,000 human interest illustrations. This untitled painting of a peach harvest exemplifies not only Fischer’s undeniable technical skills but also the culmination of his education and the influence of his teachers. The life-like and expressive qualities of the figures, both in their emotions and movements, have roots in his studies with Laurens, who stressed a comprehensive knowledge of anatomy, while sharing the stylistic traits of subjects in Frost’s compositions. The pastoral subject matter and sense of mood can also be attributed to Frost’s influence on Fischer’s career which, once cultivated, brought Fischer popularity with contemporary magazines and created demand for privately commissioned works.

Discover more works by American masters, as well as decorative arts and rare treasures from around the globe, in the online catalog for our September Great Estates Auction.