Arts Society & Culture

GMOA to show works of art by former UGA professor and cultural pioneer Alice Fischer

Alice Fischer buttons GMOA-h
Eight buttons, ca. 1943-63

Athens, Ga. – The Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia will present “The Life and Work of Alice Fischer, Cultural Pioneer” from Jan. 10 to March 8. The exhibition will feature selections of ceramic jewelry and works on paper by the former University of Georgia professor.

Born in Vienna to a Jewish family, Alice Fischer (1907-2004) was an artist and designer who immigrated to the U.S. by way of France and Morocco to escape the Nazi regime. Fischer arrived in New York in 1941 and found work in a French silk house, but she soon left her job and began experimenting with ceramics. Her experiments led to the design and handmade production of unique ceramic buttons and jewelry, which she sold throughout the U.S. Fischer’s jewelry production diminished when she enrolled in Columbia University’s doctoral program in art history and ceased completely in 1963 when she began teaching.

This exhibition serves as an introduction to Fischer’s jewelry and other works of art (etchings, watercolors and drawings), and will include Fischer’s “History of Fashion” necklace, a particularly intricate work that highlights her skills as a jewelry maker and painter. Other works on view will include Fischer’s early watercolors of southern France alongside some of her later drawings and etchings. The exhibition will address potential influences on Fischer’s work-including the works of Jewish modernist Marc Chagall and Fischer’s interest in early Christian art-as well as issues of identity.

Expulsion (from Germany and Austria and finally from France) and the trials of immigration marked her life. When her ship was stopped at Casablanca during her flight from the Nazi regime, Fischer was interned at camp Oued Zem for nearly three months. Uncertain of her fate, it was here that Fischer expressed her willingness to be a “cultural pioneer” in northern Africa if she was unable to leave. After arriving in the U.S., she continued to journey-from Manhattan to Woodstock, from Virginia to Athens, Georgia where Lamar Dodd hired her to teach art history at UGA, and finally to North Carolina, where she worked in collage, printmaking and drawing until her death.

“Fischer’s work deserves a larger audience,” said Mary Koon, independent curator. “And the Georgia Museum of Art is honored to have the opportunity to display this tribute to her life and career, especially given the decade she spent teaching here at the Lamar Dodd School of Art.”

Associated events include a Tour at Two on Jan. 28 at 2 p.m., a Make It an Evening gallery tour on Feb. 5 at 6 p.m., and a gallery talk on March 5 at 5:30 p.m., all with Koon. The museum will also host an Alice Fischer inspired family day on Jan. 17 from 10 a.m. until noon.

The exhibition will be on view in the Boone and George-Ann Knox Gallery II and is sponsored by the W. Newton Morris Charitable Foundation and the Friends of the Georgia Museum of Art.

Museum Information
Partial support for the exhibitions and programs at the Georgia Museum of Art is provided by the Georgia Council for the Arts through the appropriations of the Georgia General Assembly. The Georgia Council for the Arts also receives support from its partner agency, the National Endowment for the Arts. Individuals, foundations and corporations provide additional museum support through their gifts to the University of Georgia Foundation. The Georgia Museum of Art is located in the Performing and Visual Arts Complex on the East Campus of the University of Georgia. The address is 90 Carlton St., University of Georgia, Athens, Ga. 30602-6719. For more information, including hours, see or call 706-542-4662.