The marine paintings of Anton Otto Fischer (1882-1962) capture the nuances of sea life that only an active participant could recreate. An orphan boy born in Germany, Fischer ran away to sea at the tender age of 16, spending eight years on a variety of sailing ships. Deciding to seek citizenship in the United States, he spent some time in the New York area as part of a hands-on crew racing yachts.
He worked as a model and handyman for the illustrator, A.B. Frost, which sparked Fischer’s interest in a career as an artist. He enrolled in the Académie Julian in Paris under Jean Paul Laurens. Upon returning to the U.S., he painted pictures based upon his sailing career and was quickly offered an assignment from Harper’s Weekly. From that point forward he was in constant demand with his longest and most fruitful association being with The Saturday Evening Post, where he illustrated the “Tugboat Annie” stories by Norman Reilly Raines.
In 1942 he was given the rank of Lieutenant Commander as “Artist Laureate” for the United States Coast Guard. Fischer’s dramatic series of pictures portraying his experience aboard the cutter “Campbell” was published in Life magazine and gained him great renown.