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Classic Covers: Anton Otto Fischer

Like many prominent Post cover artists, Anton Otto Fischer, noted for his stunning seascapes, did work between the magazine’s covers as well. Fischer illustrated well over 400 stories for the Post. So associated is he with resplendent masted ships and sailboats on choppy waves (where the observer can almost taste the salt air), one tends to forget he painted characters as well as sea scenes for the Cappy Ricks stories beginning in 1915, the Mr. Glencannon series beginning in 1930, and Tugboat Annie, 1931. He confessed his favorite character was “that old reprobate Glencannon,” with the big broom moustache.

U.S. Navy Commander Lincoln Lothrop had once written to the artist: “My two lads, one of whom is now a twenty-two-year-old lieutenant in the Navy … used to cut out your pictures and pin them on the walls of their rooms. … You are responsible for recruiting many a seagoing lad.” They must have been brave lads, for Fischer’s paintings not only depicted the majestic beauty of the oceans, but the terrors they held as well.

Fischer was invited to lunch one day by none other than Vice Admiral Russell Waesche, Commandant of the Coast Guard for the purpose of recruiting. The January 9, 1943, Post describes it thus: “Did the admiral know that he was an anti-New Dealer? The admiral didn’t know—or care. But did the admiral know that he was born in Germany? Oh, yes, the admiral knew that, all right; his record had been checked.

“That record included, among other things, the fact that young Fischer had come to America as a deck hand on a German vessel, that he sacrificed two months’ pay to obtain his freedom, and then sailed on American ships for three years.”

By late that same afternoon, Fischer was sworn in as a lieutenant commander in the Coast Guard. “His duties? Putting on canvas some of the heroic deeds of our Merchant Mariners and Coast Guardsmen—the least-publicized men, perhaps, in all of our armed forces.”

This called for a wartime sacrifice at The Saturday Evening Post. Concluded the 1943 story, “and that is why Fischer’s glorious living seascapes will be out of the Post for the duration.”

Also known for illustrating books such as Moby Dick, Treasure Island, and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Anton Otto Fischer died far from his beloved coastlines in the Catskill Mountains of Woodstock, New York, in 1962 at the age of 70.

Anton Otto Fischer "Chinese Junk" 1931

Anton Otto Fischer "Chinese Junk" 1931

Anton Otto Fischer "Storm at Sea" 1931

Anton Otto Fischer "Storm at Sea" 1931

Anton Otto Fischer "Red Sky at Morning" 1932

Anton Otto Fischer "Red Sky at Morning" 1932

Anton Otto Fischer "Yacht and Steamship" 1932

Anton Otto Fischer "Yacht and Steamship" 1932

Anton Otto Fischer "Wave Breaks over Steamer" 1936

Anton Otto Fischer "Wave Breaks over Steamer" 1936

Anton Otto Fischer "Spanish Galleon" 1936

Anton Otto Fischer "Spanish Galleon" 1936

Anton Otto Fischer "Trim the Sails!" 1933

Anton Otto Fischer "Trim the Sails!" 1933

Anton Otto Fischer "Yachts at Sea" 1933

Anton Otto Fischer "Yachts at Sea" 1933

Anton Otto Fischer "Ice Boating" 1929

Anton Otto Fischer "Ice Boating" 1929

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  • Thomas McLean

    I have a small (5″ by 6″) oil painting of the Chinese junk from the 1931 Post cover. From your research, Diana, do you know if Fischer submitted such oil sketches to the Post for prior approval?

  • Lisa Norman

    Hey was researching Anton prints when I came across your prints. I have a signed print of The Rescue if your still looking.

  • Fisher did thousands of illustrations for fiction stories in various magazines and books. The number of illustrations for the Post alone is like trying to find the proverbial needle in a haystack. If it has a title or other information on the back, we could see if that was a Post story illustration. Most of what he illustrated for us, however was seascapes. You might try Art.com.

  • Rick alvis

    looking for info on Anton fisher hand of fate looks like a very old copy signed in water colors a hand holding a nude man.

  • Mike

    I am trying to locate a site to view and possible purchase the print ” To The Rescue”. It depicts as Coast Guard crew rowing out to a vessel in distress.
    This image is also on a U.S. Coast Guard coin.

    Thanks for any assitance
    Mike

  • Tom

    I am looking for a print of a painting entitled “To the Rescue” by Anton Fischer. Would anyone know where I might be able to obtain this. Thank you

  • Tom

    I am looking for a print of a painting by Anton Otto Fischer named “To The Rescue” Would anyone know where I might find one. Thank you.

  • P

    Help…Anyone know how to find out what a Painting was worh like 20 years ago? Is there a website or and institue of some sort that we can contact to find out. Thanks to all.

  • Serge Henriot

    Hello from France !
    I really like what Anton Otto Fischer painted in his life.
    Unfortunatly, I have no painting from him, but I have a book, Focs’le Days , dated 1947 with a nice ink drawing of a sailship in the see on the title page.
    The drawing is signed,”Best regards, Anton Otto Fisher ” and it mesures 5 inches high and 10 inches wide.
    To imagine what it looks like, see the above picture of the 1932 12 03 issue, just with black straights., strong waves and seagulls in the sky.
    It’s a wonderful Fischer sailship, and I’m really proud of it.

  • Diane

    My Mom has a Fischer painting that was inherited from her father in law, Earl Wilson, who worked for the advertising branch of SEP. My father said it was on a cover but I could find it among any of your listings. It is of shirtless men, perhaps mideastern, rowing a boat under duress of weather and master. This painting was given to Mr, Wilson as a gift.
    Any information that you may have would be welcome.

  • gary westermann

    i am trying to get a print of an oil painting that was a centerfold of a post magazine in the mid 40″s. It was a new england winter scene of a farm with mountains in the background. kids riding in a horse drawn wagon, someone dragging a christmas tree across a field. and there was a town in the background. it was probably a winter or christmas issue.

  • John

    I have recently acquired an AOF painting titled: “Sinking of Merlina” I believe it was an illustration for a SEP story but nothing comes up when I search the title. Any information would be most helpful.

    Thanks

    John

  • Bonnie B.

    I have a picture fitting the same description as that of Lisa Sims above. Mine is, however, not an oil painting, but could possibly be water colors. I’ve often wondered about it, because it has been in our family for many years. I finally got around to doing some research on the artist, which led me to your website. Is it possible that this picture is worth something, or is it merely a reproduction of an oil painting?

  • Pete Lothrop

    Diana – I enjoyed reading your article about Anton Otto Fischer. It was particularly interesting to me as the U.S. Navy Commander that you cited, “Lincoln Lothrop”, was my grandfather. The two young lads mentioned in the letter must have been my father and his brother. The two brothers were the “lads” pasting Anton Otto Fischer pictures on their walls. They both had a love for the sea and both joined the navy. My father entered the Naval Academy in the late thirties. He and several friends started the Academy sailing team. Following graduation, my father served on several Navy Destroyers, fought in WWII, rose through the ranks and, at one point, was the Executive Officer of the Battleship Wisconsin (BB-64). And it all started with a love for the sea and pictures by Anton Otto Fischer.

  • Lisa Sims

    I have come across an Anton Otto Fisher painting
    I think it is painted was hanging in a frame in my
    fathers basement. It has 1933 and signature in lower
    right corner. It is of clay colored rocks with waves splashing
    looking for information regarding.

  • ken heinrich

    I have an Anton Otto Fischer painting dated 1930 depicting a man pointing a gun at eight other angry men in a small sail boat at sea with two sharks in the water near the boat. The painting was handed down to me through the family and I am trying to get information about the painting. There is no title on the back.

  • Susan S.

    I have one of Anton’s paintings. On the back it is labeled “A Goboto Night”. Do you have any information about this painting?

    Is that first painting above painted by Anton or Amos Fischer?

  • Cindy W.

    I am researching a painting signed Anton Fischer lower right corner. The theme is a hunter walking in a hilly clearing who is approaching his dog (mottled white. pointer?). There are lovely fall colors in the surrounding trees (a large reddish tree in background takes center stage) and a trademark “turqoise” sky. We think it appeared on the cover of the Sat. Even. Post around early/mid 1940′s. Does anyone know of this piece or have suggestions for getting valid info? Thank you.

  • Priscilla

    I have seen a beautiful painting of a Boat with Marbelhead on it by this Artist. Are these paintings worth a lot of money.

  • Diana Denny

    The only information I can find states that Fischer served as a lieutenant commander on the Coast Guard cutter, Campbell. I can’t rule out the USS Hunter Liggett, but I find no information at this time connecting Fischer with that ship. At least one other Post cover artist, Mead Schaeffer, who did many WWII covers, was often a guest on a PT Boat or coast guard patrol boat, but again, I see no particulars connecting him with the ship in question. Not ruling it out! Just can’t confirm. Diana Denny, Archives

  • Kathy williams

    Did Mr Fischer serve aboard the USS Hunter Liggett in 1944? My Grandfather, Edward E Hahn Jr. used to tell us of a well-known artist on his ship at that period.

  • Sammie Justesen

    What wonderful artwork! I long for the days when magazine covers could be framed instead of hidden from the children. Excellent write-up about the artist!