Oskar Fischinger’s “One Line”

To Oskar Fischinger, the potential of abstraction was infinite. As a visionary of abstract expression, Fischinger left an indelible mark in filmmaking history, and is considered one of the pioneers of non-objective animation and visual music. Born in Gelnhausen, Germany in 1900, Fischinger gravitated towards creative pursuits in music, special effects, and ultimately filmmaking and painting. His natural aptitude took him far in the filmmaking industry, bringing him and his family to Los Angeles, and earning him jobs at major studios including Paramount, M.G.M., and Disney. Fischinger also earned support from The Guggenheim Foundation and was awarded at film festivals internationally.

Once Fischinger moved to the United States in 1936 he began to apply his brilliant technical skill and proclivity for abstraction within a new medium: oil painting. The resulting body of work, spanning the next thirty years and totaling some eight hundred paintings, emerged as a prolific and strikingly diverse compendium of visual gestures. Fischinger’s explorations into the seemingly endless possibilities inherent in abstraction demonstrated his playfulness and evident pleasure in delving into one style after another. In these works, Fischinger ranged from mind-bending juxtapositions of layered lines and grids forming visual puzzles, to collections of finely detailed contours forming larger organically emotive works, followed by stark graphic compositions functioning as simplistic analyses of shape, to name a few.

This diversity of expression in Fischinger’s work perhaps could be a visual manifestation of the artist’s connection to the collective unconscious. Fischinger addresses this stating “…the time arrives where the artist begins to relax [and] loses himself into something much bigger, much greater than he ever could be. He begins to listen to an inner voice and the work follows an inner dictation or a higher dictation. Above all moods there are a RELATIVE NECESSITY, an inner Law.” (Fischinger, ca. 1949). Expressing the range of his inner voice is Fischinger’s distinct strength, for his is not only demonstrating motion within his compositions, he is showing the mutability of an image in each iteration; a continuous moving rhythm from one work to the next which seems to “invoke sequential or rotary motion.” (Karlstrom, Ehrlich pg. 64). Given this spontaneity, it is no surprise that Fischinger drew parallels between his work and musical expression. As the artist described it; “This art emphasizes the effect of music. It is to music what wings are to birds. Figures and forms have a definite effect on the consciousness.” (Weinberg, Herman, 1938).

Fischinger’s paintings have received considerable acclaim in exhibitions throughout the world, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Long Beach Museum of Art, Smithsonian American Art Musuem in Washington D.C., the Art Institute of Chicago, the Philips Collection, Washington D.C., and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. His films and paintings are well represented in public and private collections internationally. Oskar Fischinger died on January 31, 1967.

One Line is an oil painting on board completed in 1949. The work is comprised of a single line, as the title suggests. Fischinger rendered elaborate geometric forms from this single line, and cleverly used gradated color to suggest space and depth in the composition. The painting is elegantly framed in white.

Peyton Wright Gallery is please to offer this painting for sale. Please contact the gallery for further information.