Johannes Fischer (1888-1955) was an Austrian painter, printmaker, and photographer. He is best known for a series of photographic portraits he took of friend and collaborator Egon Schiele. The two artists, together with Albert Paris Gütersloh, founded the Neue Secession Wien (New Vienna Secession), an art association that exhibited in 1918 following the death of Vienna’s leading artist Gustav Klimt. Neue Secession Wien exhibited only twice, as Schiele died in October of that year.
Fischer and Schiele were neighbors on Hietzinger Hauptrasse, in the Viennese suburb of Hietzing. Their collaboration on Fischer’s photographs of Schiele convey a sense of calm and warmth unusual of Schiele’s earlier portraits. Schiele appears at ease in his studio, aware of the camera but not entirely concerned with it.
After the dissolution of Neue Secession Wien, Fischer and many of the other Secession artists joined Sonderbund, an artist group organized by Broncia Koller, a noted member of the original Vienna Secession. Sonderbund held its second exhibition (though confusingly called the first) in May of 1919. The exhibition, First Exhibition of the Sonderbund, was held at Miethke Gallery in Vienna, home to previous Secessionist exhibitions. Fischer and his wife Maria both exhibited in this show. Fischer's devotion to painting was self-taught, and he never finished a degree he had started in natural sciences and philosophy. In 1914, he made his debut at the Reininghausen competition with a landscape including his iconic sun which has influenced his lifelong work. Fischer painted landscapes with bright skies from the Alpine motives of the vicinity of Vienna, and also still lifes and portraits. In 1937 he was awarded the Austrian State Prize. A year later, his paintings were exhibited in the Nazi Degenerate Art exhibition. His work was banned until the end of the war in 1945.
Johannes Fischer is featured in the collection of Queensland Art Gallery, Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane, Australia.
“Fischer, an artist living nearby, took a series of striking photographs of Schiele in 1916. As a member of Schiele’s group, he exhibited at the Secession in March 1918 and was involved in planning other subsequent exhibitions. Schiele’s appointment book indicates that they met regularly in January, February, and June 1918.” - Kalli, Egon Schiele: The Complete Works