1900 - 1967 · Germany
Abstract animator, filmmaker, and painter Oskar Fischinger created abstract musical animations decades before the appearance of computer graphics and music videos. Light-years before his time, Fischinger’s extraterrestrial special effects can be seen in Fritz Lang’s Woman in the Moon, made in 1929 as one of the first science fiction films, and Disney’s classic Fantasia.
Born in 1900 in Gelnhausen, Germany, Fischinger was introduced to film when he moved to Frankfurt and met film critic Bernhard Diebold. In an effort to escape financial pressures he moved to Berlin in 1927 where he set up a studio and began to work on numerous projects. By 1938 he had emigrated to the United States where he began work at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, with a heafy salary but not much success in the American market.
In the late 1940s Fischinger invented the Lumigraph, originally intended to be a commercially-used product. Three Lumigraphs exist today, one of which can be found in the Deutsches Filmmuseum in Frankfurt. Oskar Fischinger died in 1967, leaving behind a legacy of over 50 short films and 800 canvases. His film, Motion Painting No. 1 from 1947 is on the National Film Registry of the United States’ Library of Congress.
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