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Anya Fisher


Anya Fisher was born into a prosperous family in Odessa, Russia in 1905. Identified as a musical prodigy when she was very young, she played with adults from the age of five and later took lessons at the Music Conservatory of Odessa.

In 1917, the Bolshevik Revolution arrived in Odessa, resulting in a historic massacre that took the life of Anya’s father. Anya escaped and went to live with an uncle in Minnesota. While there, she studied at the MacPhail School of Music and played with the Minnesota Symphony.

Eventually, she won a scholarship to study at the Music Conservatory at Fontainbleau. When money was unavailable to fund her travel and stay, she quit music forever and moved to New York. She married a wealthy man named Lubetkin and explored the bohemian, artistic subculture of Greenwich Village during the 1930s.

When their marriage failed, Anya moved out to San Francisco, where she earned her living writing art reviews for the San Francisco Chronicle. While there, she met the love of her life, Eddie Fisher, and moved to Los Angeles. In 1947, she began to pursue painting and drawing more seriously in private study with the leader of the Los Angeles avant garde, Rico Lebrun. In 1948, she enrolled at Jepson Art Institute, earning high marks in every class. She graduated with an MFA in 1951 and took a job at LACMA to fund a year of study at the Académie Grand Chaumière in 1952.

Upon her return, Anya found opportunities severely limited for women artists in Los Angeles. Nevertheless, she developed important relationships with artists like Betye and Dick Saar and Frederick Hammersley in those years and went on to an active exhibition schedule with solo exhibitions at the Pasadena Art Museum and Long Beach Museum of Art, among others.

Anya Fisher wrote and illustrated numerous books of poetry and taught private art classes until the end of her life. She left behind a body of literature, a fair-sized cache of paintings, drawings, and works in mixed media, and numerous works in ceramic. She passed away in 1992.

A partial list of her one-person exhibitions follows:

Sullivan Goss, Santa Barbara, California (2001, 1986, 1985, 1984)
Pasadena Public Library, Pasadena, California (1983)
Jack Carr Gallery, Pasadena, California (1975)
Pasadena Society of Artists at Pacific Culture Museum, Pasadena, California (1974)
University of Southern California (1969)
Manhattan Galleries (1964)
Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach, California (1959) Pasadena Art Museum, Pasadena, California (1958)
Anthes Gallery, Los Angeles (1951)
Forsythe Gallery, Los Angeles (1950).

A partial list of her group exhibitions follows:
Pasadena Society of Artists annual exhibit (1964ˆ1986)
Japan & Formosa (1967, 1968)
Pasadena Museum of Art, Pasadena, California (1967)
Los Angeles County Museum of Art rental gallery (1956)
Santa Barbara Museum of Art, National Drawing Show, California (1948).

A partial list public collections:
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.; Pasadena Art Museum, Pasadena, California
Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach, California

Degree: M.F.A., Jepson Art Institute, Los Angeles, California (1951).