Margaret Fisher was a modernist painter, patron of the arts and life-long native of Chicago. She was a master of gesture and line, and her paintings remain fresh and dynamic today. Her father was Secretary of Interior under President Taft and the family traveled extensively. She was exposed to great art during these trips abroad, and following her graduation from the University of Wisconsin, Fisher began various studies in painting and sculpture. In 1923, she took courses at the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1924, she attended summer classes in Gloucester and Provincetown, and later that year, she studied drawing under Boardman Robinson at The Art Students League in New York. In 1927 she made a trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico to witness the Indian Dance Festival, and returned in 1936 to spend time with the writer Alice Corbin, her husband William Penhallow Henderson and her friend Mabel Dodge. Back at home on the family’s estate in Hubbard Woods, Winnetka, Fisher frequently painted with neighbors Norman MacLeish and Fairfield Porter.
In 1941, Fisher began to experiment with abstraction and throughout the 1940’s and ‘50’s produced small, whimsical mixed media works on paper. It is in these small compositions that Fisher’s true voice is heard. These are an intimate experience, a personal conversation between viewer and artist. As Agnes Mongan, Curator of Drawings at the Fogg Museum wrote, “The lively and highly varied compositions reveal wit, energy, discovery, control and intelligence.” It is very rare to find such a body of artwork so coherent, fresh and vibrant.
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