The Fischinger Trust

Oskar Fischinger, 1900-1967

Long Beach California, USA
Tel 562-496-1449
Contact: Fischinger Archive and ofischingerinfo (at) gmail.com

This is the official website, and a clearinghouse for information and sources
for Oskar Fischinger's films, paintings and other work.

This site also contains Biographies, Filmography, Bibliography, Articles, Links and Research Resources

 

     squares  rd  one line

Left, original goache from the film Squares, 1934
Center, still from Radio Dynamics, 1942
Right, One Line, 1949 oil


News

book

New Fischinger book! Oskar Fischinger: Experiments in Cinematic Abstraction (December, 2012). Edited by Cindy Keefer and Jaap Guildemond, distributed by Thames & Hudson worldwide. Available now in UK & Europe; advance copies in North America through Center for Visual Music, Los Angeles. Cover images from the film Kreise.

 

rauml

Installation view at Whitney Museum, (c) Center for Visual Music, 2012

 

Raumlichtkunst, a new three-screen HD installation, is a reconstruction, with newly restored film elements, of Fischinger's 1920s mutliple projector cinema performances. Raumlichtkunst was produced and curated by the Center for Visual Music, Los Angeles, and is an Edition of five. Listed in Artforum's "Best of 2012" lists. The New York Times declared, "Dazzling...an exhilarating phantasmagoria of abstraction and metaphor." (Ken Johnson, 2012)

Recently on view:

Tate Modern, London, 5th Floor Collection Displays. June 1, 2012 through March 2013. Part of exhibition of abstraction from Tate's Collections.

Whitney Museum, New York. "Oskar Fischinger: Space Light Art, A Film Environment." June through October 2012.

Other museum installations pending as of April 2013

More information, articles, press, installation photos of Raumlichtkunst


 

The first DVD in a series, Oskar Fischinger: Ten Films. 2006 release. We are working on the second DVD now. You can help support the preservation and digitization of Fischinger's films, necessary for the second and future DVDs. Please made a tax-deductible donation at this site here

Order the DVD through Center for Visual Music (CVM) in Los Angeles. If you are ordering for a school, university, library or institution please use the Institutional Order Form. Please note, this DVD may not be used for public performances or public exhibition..

"If you love animation, or modern art, or computer graphics, consider it a must" - Leonard Maltin. Contains ten of Fischinger's classic Visual Music films - Allegretto, Motion Painting No. 1, Radio Dynamics, Spiritual Constructions, Study nr. 6, Study nr. 7, Kreise, Spirals, Wax Experiments, Walking from Munich to Berlin, plus many Special Features: home movies from Fischinger's Berlin Studio c. 1931, never-released early animation tests and fragments, a selection of paintings by Fischinger, a selection of biographical photos, film notes by Fischinger and others, and a biography. Produced by Center for Visual Music in association with Fischinger Archive and Jack Rutberg Fine Arts.

In the US, the DVD can also be purchased at CVM's Los Angeles office, and at selected museum bookshops such as the Whitney Museum, New York.
In Europe, in London (BFI Southbank Filmshop), Paris (HEEZA), and through Walter Koenig in Germany, and sometimes Image Movement in Berlin.
In Japan, through Meditations.

If you are interested in helping by contributing financially to the preservation and digitization of Oskar Fischinger's films or the next DVD, please contact us at ofischingerinfo (at) gmail.com or contribute here. Grants cannot save all the films in need of restoration, other sources of funding are needed.

 


  kreise

still from Kreise, 1933-34

Films: Access and Distribution

Rentals, 16mm:
US: Canyon Cinema, San Francisco - films@canyoncinema.com, phone/fax: 415-626-2255
Europe: Light Cone, Paris - lightcone@lightcone.org, +33 (0)1 46 59 01 53 (also a few 35mm prints)

alleg

still from Allegretto, 1936-43

A Retrospective Tribute of Oskar's films: Oskar Fischinger: Optical Poetry, featuring 35mm restored prints of Allegretto, Radio Dynamics, Kreise, Motion Painting No. 1, Study nr. 5, 6 and 7, American March, and other films is available for rental from Center for Visual Music, to venues capable of archival projection standards. There are 2 programs available, the first of popular classic Visual Music films, and a second program of Rarely-Seen works. Please contact CVM at least 30 days in advance of playdate. Contact cvmaccess (at) gmail (dot) com. The Retrospective contains many new preserved prints, preserved by Center for Visual Music, the Academy Film Archive, The Fischinger Trust and others. Very occasionally CVM rents individual 35mm prints to qualified institutions. A few 35mm prints are also available for rental through Light Cone, Paris.


Radio Dynamics by Oskar Fischinger screens at "Visual Music" at MOCA Los Angeles, 2005

Contact Center for Visual Music (cvmaccess at gmail.com) for other Rentals, Licensing, Museum Exhibition Requests and Special Permissions. CVM handles licensing worldwide. Museum exhibition requests from digital copies are considered under very specific appropriate conditions, though we encourage showing the films on film whenever possible (for single evening screenings, for example). Contact cvmaccess (at) gmail.com with full details of your request for digital display in a museum exhibition. We do not grant public performance rights or screening permission for the Fischinger "Ten Films" DVD. Certain films may be licensed for digital exhibition under very specific conditions. Please provide complete details of your exhibition including dates, description of the museum/gallery space planned for exhibiting films or digital media (what else will be in this space? black or white walls? lighting levels? etc.); type of projection and screen, display via projector or monitor; standard or high definition?; plans for avoiding light and sound leaks; other planned films in the exhibition; list of venues and dates, licensing fee budgeted, and type of format/files you can display, or request. We cannot process requests without all of the above information.

allstill from Allegretto, 1936-43

Please note that many requests are declined due to insufficient information, unacceptable spaces, or lack of preparation time or budget. For individual screening programs, such as single night screenings, the work should be screened on film.

Requests to screen the films with new music or live scores - we do not give permission to screen Oskar's visual music (sound) films with new music. Requests may be considered for only a few of the silent films (not Radio Dynamics), please provide full information. Due to past problems, we do not license excerpts of the films for use in music videos.

ONLINE examples of selected films including Studie nr 5, Studie nr 8, Kreise, Wax Experiments, the Lumigraph film and others are at CVM's vimeo channel. These are the only authorized clips online.

 

Paintings

ptg 1     ptg 2

 

 

Fischinger created over 800 paintings in his lifetime. Many are in major museums and collections worldwide, including Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Solomon Guggenheim Museum New York, Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena CA; and Yale University's Art Gallery. The Fischinger Trust's exclusive painting dealer for the paintings owned by us is Peyton-Wright Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Center image above, Koda/Triple Study, 1942 oil

Contact the Fischinger Trust for other matters regarding the paintings and drawings of Oskar Fischinger: info (at) oskarfischinger (dot) org

 

Photographs and Images

Please direct requests for image reproduction permission, and other image permission requests to ofischingerinfo (at) gmail.com or cvmaccess (at) gmail.com - please provide full and specific details regarding the publication and requested use (print only, ebook, online, etc; circulation or print run, editor of book if applicable, publication date, etc.). If you are seeking reproduction permission for images to accompany an article, please email text of the article as well. Requests generally require 2 weeks processing time or payment of a rush fee. And yes, you do need to clear permission before publishing a photograph of Fischinger, a still from his films or an image of his paintings.

   

kreise study

Movement diagram for the film Kreise (1933-34)

Papers, Research Material

The Fischinger Trust is currently not open to the public. Most of the original papers of Oskar and Elfriede Fischinger have been donated to the Center for Visual Music (CVM) in Los Angeles.

Selected reference material (including William Moritz's Fischinger research collection) is available to scholars by appointment through Center for Visual Music (CVM), Los Angeles. Online, see CVM's Fischinger research pages.which include Film Notes by Fischinger and others, an extensive Biography, examples of process materials and animation drawings, plus a Bibliography and many other resources. Selected articles are online (below, this page), and many additional articles are online through Center for Visual Music's authorized Research pages.

Some materials, including an original Lumigraph, Motion Painting panels, a few paintings, some animation drawings from Kreise, and some papers (German language, some selections from Oskar's early business papers) are at the Deutsches Filmmuseum in Frankfurt, Germany. However the bulk of his papers are at Center for Visual Music.

Please note that a great deal of online material, including Wikipedia, is inaccurate about Fischinger's life and work. As a response to the overwhelming amount of inaccuracies currently being disseminated about Fischinger, we are assisting with a special site addressing the most commonly published errors. It is hosted on CVM's site, see the Research Errata page there.

A note about inaccuracies online - warning to researchers


Resources

Filmography

Biography - Short and Longer

Selected Bibliography (on External site, the CVM Fischinger Research pages)

Also see William Moritz's Fischinger biography "Optical Poetry: The Life and Work of Oskar Fischinger" published in April 2004 by John Libbey & Co. Available on amazon.com worldwide. Errata from this book are noted in the Research Errata page at CVM's website.

Film descriptions in Canyon Cinema catalog, also see Film Notes by Fischinger and others, on the CVM Fischinger Research Site


News and Announcements

Bill Moritz and Elfriede Fischinger

 

Request for Information

If you own a Fischinger painting, drawing, or cel, we would appreciate hearing from you. We are maintaining a catalog raisonne and documenting all of the paintings, and appreciate receiving information.

We are also interested in documents, papers, letters and information regarding Oskar Fischinger, particularly correspondence from Oskar. Contact: info (at) oskarfischinger.org and ofischingerinfo (at) gmail.com

Presently we are looking for a company which still makes paper flipbooks. We are also seeking to rent time on a 35mm Oxberry animation stand on the US west coast, to shoot some animation drawings on 35mm film. Please contact us if you have one for rent, or know of a company, at ofischingerinfo (at) gmail.com

Articles/Essays

Canemaker, John. The Original Laureate of an Abstract Poetry. New York Times, July 2, 2000 (update to this article: The Fischinger Archive no longer has any affiliation with Iota).
-- Elfriede! On the Road with Mrs. Oskar Fischinger, Funnyworld, No. 18, 1978

Fischinger, Elfriede. Writing Light, 1984
Fischinger, Oskar. The Problem of Color and Sound in Film. 1930
-- Sounding Ornaments. 1932
-- My Statements are in My Work. Art in Cinema catalog, San Francisco, 1947
-- True Creation, 1949
-- A Statement About Painting, 1951, for exhibition at Frank Perls Gallery, Los Angeles

Janiak, Larry and Dave Daruszka. Oskar Fischinger. An Interview with Elfriede Fischinger. Zoetrope 1979.
Keefer, Cindy. A Lifetime in Animation: The Glamorous Bill Moritz, Animation World Magazine, June 2003

--"Space Light Art" - Early Abstract Cinema and Multimedia, 1900-1959 White Noise exhibition catalog, ACMI Melbourne, 2005
--"'Raumlichtmusik' - Early 20th Century Abstract Cinema Immersive Environments." Leonardo Electronic Almanac, Creative Data Special Issue, Vol 16, no 6-7. MIT Press/The International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology, October 2009. (PDF).
Langlois, Philippe. Oskar Fischinger Leonardo, Feb 2001
Leslie, Dr. Esther. Where Abstraction and Comics Collide, Tate ETC, Tate Museums, UK, Summer 2006.
Moritz, Dr. William.

-- Oskar Fischinger: Artist of the Century. Animac Magazine, 2001(Lleida, Spain)
-- In Passing...Elfriede Fischinger Animation World Magazine, June 1999
--The Dream of Color Music, and Machines That Made it Possible, Animation World Magazine online, Issue 2.1, 1997
-- Gasparcolor: Perfect Hues for Animation. Presentation at the Louvre, Paris, 1995
-- Oskar Fischinger: Leben und Werk, in Optische Poesie, (Frankfurt: Deutsches Filmmuseum, 1993)
-- The Private World of Oskar Fischinger. Liner notes, "The World of Oskar Fischinger" laserdisc, LaserDisc Corporation, Tokyo, 1988.
-- "Abstract Film and Color Music," in The Spiritual in Art: Abstract Painting 1890-1985 (LACMA exhibition catalog), 1986
-- "Towards a Visual Music," Cantrills Filmnotes, Sydney, August 1985
-- You Can't Get Then From Now, Part I: Oskar Fischinger, in Journal: Southern California Art Magazine, No. 29, 1981
-- "Non-Objective Film: The Second Generation." In Film as Film: Formal Experiment in Film, 1910-1975, Hayward Gallery/Arts Council of Great Britain, 1979. Fischinger excerpt from article.
-- "The Films of Oskar Fischinger," Film Culture No. 58-60, 1974

Morris, Gary. "Oskar Fischinger's Visual Music" Bright Lights Film Journal, Sept 1998
Tobias, James. Sync: Stylistics of Hieroglyphic Time. Temple University Press, 2010. See Chapter 3: "For Love of Music: Oskar Fischinger's Modal, Musical Diagram."
Willis, Holly. Short Form: Classic Avant-Garde 'Toons Get Reanimated on IFILM

For an extensive bibliography please see CVM's Bibliography at their Fischinger research site.

Elfriede Fischinger, c. 1932

Assorted Links:

Dreams of Abstract Mass Media, by Scott Sona Snibbe, July 2010
Oskar's Oklahoma Gas ad on CVM's Vimeo channel, plus a clip from one of Elfriede's Lumigraph performances
Wavelengths by Ed Halter, in Village Voice, New York, December 2005
Oskar Fischinger, Fast on the Draw. Review of Painting Exhibition, Washington Post, Sept. 15, 2005
Cartoon in Montreal Mirror, June 2005
Review of Moritz's book "Optical Poetry." by Robin Allan. AWN, 2004
Motion Painting No. 1 on MichaelBarrier.com
The Missing Link: Oskar Fischinger Between European Avant-Garde and New American Cinema, March 2002 by Walter Schobert, at Edinburgh, Scotland Conference "Avant-Garde"
Art in America Review, Oskar Fischinger at Jack Rutberg, June 2001 by Michael Duncan
Review of Painting Exhibition at Jack Rutberg Fine Arts, Los Angeles, 2000 by Ray Zone
Review of Painting Exhibition at Jack Rutberg Fine Arts, by Mario Cutajar
Artscene: Oskar Fischinger by Mario Cutajar
Milestones of the Animation Industry in the 20th Century, 2000, by Karl Cohen, in Animation World Magazine
Cross-Influence in Abstract German Animation of the Silent Era, 2000
Motion Painting selected for The National Film Registry, Library of Congress, 1997
Oskar Fischinger: A Retrospective Notes on his paintings by Susan Ehrlich, for Tobey Moss Gallery, 1988
John Cage audio interview on KPFA, 1987 (discusses how he met Fischinger)
AskArt Listing: contains brief bibliography of art books and art periodicals regarding Fischinger

 

About Us

The Fischinger Trust (Elfriede Fischinger Trust) is administered by Oskar's daughters. Center for Visual Music (CVM) manages the films of Oskar Fischinger; and his papers are now at CVM as well. Previously, Elfriede used the term "The Fischinger Archive" to conduct business.

The Trust and Archive thanks Center for Visual Music, The Whitney Museum, Tate Modern London, Michael Friend, Pacific Film Archive, Sony, John Canemaker, Cinémathèque québécoise, Goethe Institut Los Angeles, Leonard Maltin, Jerry Beck, Joe Kennedy, Cecile Starr, Yann Beauvais, Jean-Paul Georgen, Heike Sperling, Thomas Reynolder, Timothy Finn, Susan Bolles and many others for their support.

All images copyright The Elfriede Fischinger Trust and Oskar Fischinger, 1922-2013. WARNING: Text and images in these pages are protected by copyright law (Title 17 U.S. Code). Please seek permission for reproducing any images or text.

last updated Apr 2013