400 Commerce Drive
Fort Washington, PA 19034
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Original Illustration Art circa 1890-1970

Anton Otto Fischer

(American- 1882-1962) biography  |  subscribe to this artist

(1881-1962)

            The marine paintings by Anton Otto Fischer are as authoritative as only a working sailor could make them. Born in Munich, Germany but orphaned as a boy, Fischer ran away to sea at 16 and spent eight years before the mast on a variety of sailing ships. Paid off in New York, he stayed to apply for American citizenship and to teach seamanship on the school ship, "St. Mary's." He later served as a hand on racing yachts on Long Island Sound and worked as a model and handyman for the illustrator A.B. Frost. When he had saved enough money, he spent two years at the Academie Julian in Paris under Laurens.

            Returning to the United States, Fischer sold his first picture to Harper's Weekly in 1908, around the time he moves to Wilmington to receive critiques from Pyle. Everybody's magazine sent him the first of several Jack London stories. In 1910, he began a 48-year association with The Saturday Evening Post, which included illustrating seialized characters such as Peter B. Kyne's "Crappy Ricks," Norman Reilly Raine's "Tugoat Annie," Guy Gilpatrick's "Glencannon," as well as serials for Kenneth Robert and Nordoff and Hall.

            In 1942, he was given the ran of Lieutenant Commander as "Artist Laureate" for the United States Coast Guard and was assigned Moth Atlantic convoy duty on the Coast Guard cutter "Campbell" during the winter of 1943. The "Campbell" was disabled during a successful attack on a German U-boat, and Fischer's dramatic paintings of this experience were published by Life magazine. The pictures are now in the Coast Guard Academy at New London, Connecticut.

            In 1947, Fischer wrote and illustrated a book about his earlier sailing years, entitled Fo'c'sle Days, published by Charles Scribner's Sons.