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Oskar Fischinger: A Centennial Tribute > Additional Information

Jack Rutberg Fine Arts

Oskar Fischinger
- Additional Information -

An exhibition of paintings and drawings by the pioneering modernist artist, Oskar Fischinger (b.1900 Gelnhausen, Germany - d.1967  Los Angeles) presented in conjunction with the release of "THE FILMS OF OSKAR FISCHINGER" Volume II (VHS VIDEOCASSETTE)

Oskar Fischinger: A Centennial Tribute celebrates the one hundredth anniversary of Fischinger's birthday and is one of numerous collaborative international events paying tribute to this important pioneer of abstract art and film. The American launch of the Fischinger Centennial Tribute originated July 6-9 in New York at The Museum of Modern Art, with a program of film screenings organized by the iota Center, in conjunction with The Fischinger Archive and The Film Archive of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.  That program tour includes the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on July 28 & 29, the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley, and the Harvard Film Archives, before its presentation at the National Gallery in Washington D.C. on October 28 and 29.

The exhibition at Jack Rutberg Fine Arts will include select  paintings and drawings  from the 1930s, when Fischinger revolutionized film making through his abstract animations.  Many of these films were influential to artists at the Bauhaus in Germany, where Moholy Nagy illustrated his lectures with Fischinger's films (artists such as Kandinsky and Feininger also felt a strong affinity for Fischinger's images).  Included in the Rutberg Fine Arts show will be works following his arrival in Los Angeles in 1936,  through his paintings of the 1960s, demonstrating how Fischinger's work prefigured and influenced much of Los Angeles contemporary hard-edge abstract painting.

By 1935, Oskar Fischinger was widely known throughout Europe and America for his innovative films, winning prizes at important international film symposiums.  During this time, however, Fischinger endured difficulties as his works were increasingly regarded as inappropriate by Nazi Germany due to their abstract content.  They were ultimately declared  "Degenerate" by the Nazis. In 1936, Fischinger was clandestinely brought to America by Paramount Studios in Hollywood where he resided until his death in 1967.  Working for Paramount, MGM and Orson Welles' Mercury Studios for only a brief time, Fischinger proved too avant-garde to fit neatly into Hollywood's studio system.  This was again borne out when Fischinger, as an animator for Disney's Fantasia, resigned from the project due to artistic differences, although his influence is evident in the film's final version.

Fischinger's paintings and films reflect his interest in spirituality; particularly in Eastern mysticism.  His earliest drawings and paintings in Germany were exclusively created as sequential components in his films in order to evoke various attitudes and states of consciousness. While having a lifelong dedication to film making, Fischinger ultimately distilled his explorations through single paintings by utilizing overlays of abstract lines, color and form.

Oskar Fischinger's influence on the development of abstract avant garde films is immeasurable.  The genius of his films and paintings was recognized by many of the great luminaries of the 20th century in the worlds of art and film; among them Orson Welles, Wassily Kandinsky, Lyonel Feininger, Leopold Stokowski and John Cage.  Exploring the effects of sight, visual sound and motion as a spiritual pursuit consistent with his interest in Theosophy and Buddhism, Fischinger represents one of the earliest painters of non-objective abstraction in Los Angeles - philosophically foreshadowing the works of John McLaughlin, who pursued similar interests by way of a highly reductive form of abstraction.

Recently, Fischinger's paintings have come to broader international acknowledgment.  In America, increasing numbers of museum exhibitions in recent years have featured Fischinger's works. In addition to numerous West Coast museum exhibitions, Fischinger's works have figured significantly in exhibitions such as the 1992-1993 museum tour of Kandinsky & The American Avant-Garde, which opened at the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C.  Fischinger's films have been the subject of recent symposiums in major American museums such as the Museum of Modern Art, as well as important cultural institutions in England, France, Germany, Japan, Australia and South America.  Fischinger's painting and films will be included in the Los Angeles County Museum's major survey of California art and culture: Made in California, later this fall.

Having produced the landmark American video release The Films of Oskar Fischinger Vol. I, Jack Rutberg Fine Arts will offer during this  exhibition of paintings and drawings  the newly-released companion video: The Films of Oskar Fischinger Volume II, produced by the iota Center.

Oskar Fischinger: A Centennial Tribute extends through November 4, 2000. Concurrently the gallery will show Ed Ruscha: A Graphic View.

For more information, please contact Jack Rutberg Fine Arts.

Photos available upon request also available via email.

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