Oskar Fischinger, our Studio Sunday artist for the week, was an abstract painter and animator who produced much of his work during the heyday of hand-drawn animation. Fischinger was best known for his abstract animations set to music, and his work with Disney and other film productions.
The photograph above shows Fischinger at work in the Walt Disney studio in 1939. It’s unclear exactly what Fischinger is working on, but the vast array of photographs or storyboard elements on the wall could indicate that it’s part of some long-form animation project.
The nature of Fischinger’s work would have required him to be continuously drawing and painting, creating numerous sequential images to result in a few seconds of polished animation. I can imagine the artist bent over this desk, or perhaps others in other studios and offices, diligently sketching and drawing for hours on end.
While the studious, almost office-like appearance of Fischinger’s work space in this photo reminds me of the studio of Dan Flavin, the artist’s works could perhaps be more aptly compared to Robert Mangold, another artist famous for circle paintings.
Fischinger, originally from Germany, immigrated to the United States shortly before the outbreak of WWII and remained in America for the rest of his life and career. Though he did not speak English at the time of his arrival, he quickly became known for his artistic skills, contributing work to his own experimental animations as well as classic Disney productions like Fantasia.