Fischer, Carl (1887-1962)

Fischer, Carl (1887-1962)

Danish artist Carl Fischer contemplates the reflection and invocation of human emotions through interior scenes in his oeuvre of cogitative works. Fischer seems to blend the traditions of Danish art, received through his education at the esteemed Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, with a more modernist mood and method.

Interior scenes, often featuring women, took inspiration from the Dutch Golden Age. The weaving of a story of emotion and the state of being simply through depicting everyday life had grown popular in Denmark throughout the 19th century. The home was a haven from other aspects of life, a safe place for the expression of existence. Vilhelm Hammershøi (1864-1916) is the most prominent example of a Danish artist engaging in and building on the traditions of his Dutch forbears.

Fischer, however, was also participating in this genre successfully. His moody and thought-provoking works bring the genre up to date with the contemporary trends in art toward modernism. A psychological dive into the state of human existence was incredibly popular, and Fischer imbibes his work with this intention. Walls close in at steep angles on his female subjects, crowding around them, pressing down. Muddy colours seem to seep from the walls into the clothing of his subject, washing the two together until the entire canvas is stained with psychological representation. These women’s faces are often obscured, although their shoulders are hunched, defensive. This adds to the sense of emotional intensity, forcing the viewer to translate the mood through the interior.

Fischer was praised for his pinpricks of bright colour often used to diffuse some of the gloominess woven into his works. The details he adds to his women’s clothing, with gingham, checked patterns or pale blue stripes streaking across pure white cotton, offsets the psychological intensity and grounds the work in reality just enough to also emphasise it. The viewer is looking at a representation of life, this woman is no mythological being but a normal everyday woman. There is often a similarity in the russet hair of his subjects. Perhaps it was his wife, Ely Viktoria Fischer, acting as a model.

During his time at the Academy, Fischer received tutoring from Viggo Johansen (1851-1935). Johansen’s interiors often feature gloomy, subdued lighting. Perhaps he was the first seed of inspiration from which Fischer grew the apples of his success. Success it indeed was, Fischer exhibited regularly within Denmark, praised for his emotional expressiveness. Whilst interiors were his forte, he also produced a selection of portraits and still lifes, all embodying a sense of moodiness. Nonetheless, it was his engagement with a tradition of Danish art and his ability to bring it up to date which defined Fischer’s career.


Born in Vejle, Denmark.


Apprenticed as a painter.


Studied at the Danish Royal Academy of Fine Arts.


Exhibited regularly at the Charlottenborg Spring Exhibition, Copenhagen.


Awarded the Ronge scholarship.


Awarded an Academy scholarship.


Married in Ely Viktoria Olsen.


Travelled to Norway and Sweden.


Travelled to Holland, Belgium, France, and Germany.


Awarded the Eckersberg Medal.


Travelled to Belgium and Paris. Awarded the J.R. Lund scholarship.


Exhibited at the Charlottenborg Spring Exhibition, Copenhagen.


Died in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Stay In Touch
Subscribe to our Wednesday newsletter for the latest finds and 10% off your order.