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Ethel Fisher was an American painter whose career spanned more than 7 decades in New York City, Miami and Los Angeles. Her work ranges from abstraction to large scale portraiture, architectural “portraits,” landscape and still-life and is marked by a formal emphasis on color and space. She studied at the University of Houston, Washington University, and at the Art Student’s League in the 1940s with Morris Kantor and Will Barnet, who became a lifelong friend. Fisher found success as an abstract artist in the late 1950s, and began exhibiting her work nationally.Her formative work of this period embraced the history of art, architecture and anthropology; she referred to it as "abstract impressionist" to distinguish her approach to form and color from that of Abstract Expressionism.
Fisher is best known for her portraits of fellow artists from the 1960s, and for grid-like, architectural paintings of the facades of urban cast-iron buildings, from the 1970s. Her figurative work employs color fields and architectural details as abstract shapes to create tension between her subjects and their surroundings and to impart psychological depth.Her carefully rendered interiors and still lifesoften include reproductions of works by well-known artists. Her work is included in the permanent collections of LACMA, The Morgan Library and Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of the City of New York, Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, Crocker Museum, Lowe Art Museum, The Norton Gallery and more.
Fisher’s daughter Sandra, also an artist, married the artist R. B. Kitaj in 1983.