"The Rescue of the Crew from the Calypso"   Lot no. 892

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By Anton Otto Fischer (American- 1882-1962)

1950 (Estimated)
20.50" x 48.00"
Oil on Canvas
Signed Lower Right


Published in the Saturday Evening Post, with title label and an obituary affixed to the back of the work. 

Anton Otto Fischer left his home in Germany as a teenager and got a job on an ocean freighter.  For the next sixteen years, he sailed the seven seas, fascinated by the excitement of traveling to distant lands.  In his spare time, he taught himself to draw and paint, and of course, his pictures were of nautical scenes.  Finally settling in America, he began illustrating magazine covers and picture books, and created many covers of dramatic sea scenes for The Saturday Evening Post.  Ultimately, he and his family settled in New London, Connecticut near the submarine base where President Franklin Delano Roosevelt appointed him Artist Laureate of the United States Navy.

This action packed war painting from 1941, shows a ship sinking and ablaze as a frantic crew awaits a lifeboat from a nearby vessel. 

Explore related art collections: Magazine Stories / 1950s / Boating/Nautical / Action / Landscape

See all original artwork by Anton Otto Fischer



             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.