Oskar Fischinger

Oskar Fischinger Biography

Oskar Fischinger Biography

Oskar Fischinger was an animator, painter, and a German cinematographic director, recognized for his abstract works and combined with the geometry of music. He was born on June 22, 1900, in Gelnhausen, Germany, and from an early age, he was interested in abstract art. Before being an animator and filmmaker, he was a musician, a technician in architectural design and tools.

In 1920, he traveled to Frankfurt, where he met Bernhard Diebold, a Swiss writer, and critic, who saw his abstract sketches and recommended him to start working on the filming of abstract films. In 1921, he made the film “Opus I” by Walter Ruttmann, which was the first public screening of an abstract film at that time, which motivated Fischinger to decide to leave his engineering work to move to Munich, with the goal of becoming a filmmaker.

Fischinger’s early films, which were recorded in the early 1920s, are among the most radical because he was challenged to produce something different from the romantic choreography of small figures that were shown in Ruttmann’s films or the static work of graphical labyrinths in the work of Viking Eggeling.

Between 1925 and 1927 he created “Wax Experiments”; “R-1, A Form-Play” and “Spirals” where Fischinger designed very well structured visual parameters, which were constantly moving in hypnotic cycles and then interrupted with a radical montage of single frames with contrast-filled images.

By 1927, he moved from Munich to Berlin, as he was hired to work on special effects of rockets, star landscapes and planetary surfaces for the science fiction film “Woman on the Moon” directed by Fritz Lang. During his stay in the German capital, he, unfortunately, broke his ankle, so he had to continue drawing and creating from the hospital. It took place in the invention of the Gasparcolor process, which allowed him to produce audiovisual pieces such as “Composition in Blue” his second color film, in which he used small geometric models. In that same year, he recorded “Munich Berlin walking” a short film that was shot with an innovative technique.

Made exhibitions in foreign festivals without receiving the required authorizations, managed to win the “King’s Prize” at the Universal Exhibition in Brussels in October 1935, thanks to “Composition in Blue.”

For the Nazi Germany of Adolf Hitler, his works were considered as denied art, so in 1936 Oskar Fischinger had to seek acyl in the United States. There he was hired by Paramount, with the condition that he could not continue working in color. Later, the company bought his short “Allegretto” to pass it to color, which was considered one of the most complete pieces of visual music, thanks to the layers of celluloid that caused a revolution in the world of animation at that time, and those that Fischinger could use. The attempts of Oskar Fischinger to be able to film in the United States always were failed, since they always placed many restrictions and complications for him.

He composed the composition of “An Optical Poem” (An Optical Poem) which was used for the “Second Hungarian Rhapsody” by Liszt; for that work, he did not receive any economic benefit. He also made a scene for the Disney movie “Fantasia” but he was not successful either since all his designs were modified or eliminated to be more “representative.”

After doing more than 50 shorts, he decided to dedicate himself to oil painting; and also had the idea of ​​creating an apparatus, called the Lumigraph, which produced fantastic chromatic screens with hand movements.

Oskar Fischinger is considered the precursor of music videos and video clips, since his work allowed access to advanced filming technologies, which, added to his own technical innovations, led him to the interest of Hollywood studios. He was also considered one of the great experimental artists of the early twentieth century.

Oskar Fischinger died on January 31, 1967, in Los Angeles, at the age of 67.

On June 22, 2017, Google paid tribute with a doodle to the 117th anniversary of his birth.



  • Silhouette: 1920.
  • Stäbe: 1920.
  • Wachs Experiment: 1921
  • Studies 1 to 4: 1921-1925.
  • Spiralen: 1925
  • München-Berlin Wanderung: 1927.
  • Seelische Konstruktionen: 1927.
  • Study Nr. 2: 1929.
  • Study Nr. 3: 1930.
  • Study Nr. 4: 1930.
  • Study Nr. 5: 1930.
  • Study Nr. 6: 1930.
  • Study Nr. 7: 1930-1931.
  • Study Nr. 8: 1931.
  • Study Nr. 9: 1931.
  • Study Nr. 12: 1932.
  • Study Nr. 13: 1933-1934.
  • Kreise (Alle kreise erfasst Tolirag): 1933-1934.
  • Muratti greift ein: 1934.
  • Komposition in Blau: 1935.
  • Muratti Privat: 1935
  • Allegretto: 1936
  • An Optical Poem: 1937.
  • Organic Fragment: 1941
  • Am American March: 1941.
  • Motion Painting Nr. 1: 1947.
  • Muntz TV Commercial: 1952.

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