Best known for his illustrations of beautiful women, Harrison Fisher (1877-1934) was the son of landscape painter Hugo Anton Fisher.
Harrison, born in Brooklyn, New York, moved to San Francisco as a child with his family. He studied art at the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art in San Francisco.
His quick, facile style with pen and ink got him work for local newspapers, the San Francisco Call and William Randolph Hearst's Examiner.
By the time he returned to New York in 1896, he had established himself as a superb draftsman.
Harrison Fisher became a staff artist for the humor magazine Puck, and created story illustrations and cover art for Saturday Evening Post, Ladies home Journal, and American Magazine. He produced almost 300 covers for Cosmopolitan magazine.
His female subjects characteristically were not only lovely and fashionable, but intelligent, capable, and self-confident at a time when American women often were portrayed as merely obedient wives or objects of desire.
Fisher's sly humor never resorted to demeaning sexual innuendo. He often played on the delicate relationships between men and women but always in a positive light.
His women often flirted but never pandered. He didn't paint pinups although many of his illustrations found their way into scrapbooks. They also were reproduced on calendars, postcards, ceramics, sheet music, and as collections in books.
Many of Fisher's compositions, particularly those for magazine covers, involved a face and two hands. The hands told the story, holding a prop such as a small dog or cat, or directing the viewer's eye.
Men in fisher's compositions often were secondary figures who looked on modern women with admiration and perplexity.
Today his art remains popular as it inspires new generations of artists.
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