Abstraction (Spheres) evokes the rhythm and music of the pioneering music animation films for which Oskar Fischinger was famous.
During his early years in Germany, Fischinger apprenticed as a pipe organ building assistant and worked as an architectural draftsman until World War I. Fischinger began working in film animation in the 1920s. He pioneered numerous unique film techniques using multiple cameras and made several short animated films. The technique was intricate and fastidious, requiring that each frame be painted then aligned in sequence to create movement. His work was deemed “degenerate” by the Nazi regime in the 1930s, but his animated shorts were shown and appreciated internationally. The Hollywood studios of Paramount, MGM, and Disney recruited him to move to California to work for them. Fischinger created the first version of the animation for the opening scene of Walt Disney’s film Fantasia—featuring Johann Sebastian Bach’s Tocata and Fugue In D Minor. However, Fischinger’s animation was not used and he left the Hollywood studios as a result of artistic disputes. The studios were more interested in narrative stories and representational artwork, whereas Fischinger’s focus was purely abstract animation.
Fischinger painted Abstraction (Spheres) after he left the film studios and began to concentrate on painting. The glossy finish of this painting, the result of oil paint on Celotex—a fiberboard insulation product—mimics the sheen of film, the medium close to Fischinger’s heart. The sequence of the squares and spheres in this painting create a sense of movement and rhythm like that in music and animation.
Artist: Oskar Fischinger
Title: Abstraction (Spheres)
Medium: Oil on Celotex
Dimension: 19 1/4 x 19 1/4 in. (48.9 x 48.9 cm)
Collection: The Buck Collection at the UCI Institute and Museum for California Art
Copyright: © Courtesy of the Elfriede Fischinger Trust