Painter, Sculptor, Art teacher, Designer
New York, N.Y.
Collection size: 3.1 linear ft.
Collection Summary: Biographical material; correspondence; financial material; writings and notes; teaching material; printed material; sketchbooks; diaries; scrapbooks; photographs; and artwork relate to the Fischers' work in crafts businesses, teaching, and involvement in crafts organizations.
Included in the biographical material are certificates, resumes, and ID cards related to Phyllis Fisher's Works Progress Administration employment in the Education and Recreation Dept. Correspondence, 1933-1972, deals with WPA activities, job hunting, and the Fischers' enamel and design business. Financial material for their crafts business and sales, 1937-1960, includes account books and receipts. Appointment books, 1936, 1954-1957, and personal diaries, 1923-1953, were kept by Phyllis.
The collection includes a large amount of original artwork, both preliminary designs and completed work, includings sketchbooks, sketches, watercolors, Christmas cards made and received, templates, and stencils. There is one volume of notes and drawings done by Phyllis in an early interior decoration course.
Writings include weekly surveys and reports written by Phyllis Fischer and Shirley Silbert for their WPA crafts program. Material regarding Ben Fischer's teaching industrial arts in elementary and junior high schools, 1954-1960, includes teaching appraisals. Printed material, 1931-1960, consists of advertisements for Fischer enamels and pottery, WPA material relating to crafts programs, political ephemera, and files on American Designers' Institute, The Craft Students' League, The Industrial Designers' Institute, and The New York Society of Craftsmen. Photographs are primarily of crafts and decorative arts objects designed and made by the Fishers, but also include photos of them, their friends, residences, studios, and travel.
Biographical/Historical Note: Bernard Fischer was a painter, sculptor, designer, puppetteer, art teacher. Phyllis was a decorator, designer, and painter. She was employed during the late 1930s with the WPA Education and Recreation Dept. teaching crafts and administering crafts related programs. The Fischers operated a crafts business specializing in enamels and exhibited their work in galleries and at crafts exhibitions. Bernard taught Industrial Arts in the NYC schools, and at classes at museums and crafts organizations.
Donated 1986 by Norma Kerlin, the Fischers' niece.