Harrison Fisher
1875 - 1934

At one time, Harrison Fisher’s ‘Fisher Girl’ was as well known as ‘The Gibson Girl’. Fisher made a name for himself in the history of American illustration due to his uncanny ability to paint beautiful women. His ‘Fisher Girl’ and, more importantly, his ‘American Girl’ were recognized as the epitome of feminine beauty in America during the first quarter of the 20th century. She was lithe, elegant and beautiful, but also athletic, independent, and intelligent. Cosmopolitan Magazine in the 1920’s called Harrison Fisher, “The World’s Greatest Artist” saying that “There is an underlying ideal that dominates his paintings. His ideal type has come to be regarded as the type of American beauty: girls, young with the youth of a new country, strong with the vitality of buoyant good health, fresh with clear-eyed brightness, athletic, cheerful, sympathetic, and beautiful.” They went on to say, “'The American Girl' is practical, adventuresome, active, and above all, attractive. No one can portray more of this attractiveness than Harrison Fisher.”

Harrison Fisher was born in Brooklyn, the son of Felix Xavier Fisher and grandson of Hugo Antoine Fisher, both artist immigrants from Bohemia. In 1886, the family left New York and moved to Alameda, California near San Francisco. Two years later Harrison’s mother died. In 1893, Antoine Fisher’s art was exhibited at the World’s Columbia Exposition in Chicago, and he felt comfortable enough to open a studio on Battery Street in San Francisco. Felix Fisher had already started to teach his two sons to sketch and paint as soon as they arrived in California. He took them on camping trips up and down the Pacific coastline sketching the magnificent scenery.

Harrison had shown promise quite early having excelled at drawing from the age of six. Coupled with his father’s training and natural talent, he enrolled at the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art, and as a teenager sold illustrations to local newspapers. The popular national magazine Judge was soon publishing Harrison’s works. Those early commissions brought him to the attention of the San Francisco Call, and he was hired as a staff artist drawing society functions, sporting meets, and illustrating news items.

After a couple of years he joined the San Francisco Examiner, the largest newspaper in William Randolph Hearst’s stable, and sketched news events exclusively. In 1897, Fisher was given a requested transfer to Hearst’s New York American. Barely two weeks later he got a joined job as in-house cartoonist and illustrator for the fabulously famous Puck Magazine. His career was careening ahead with recognition from everyone who came into contact with his work. His name grew in reputation and he very much enjoyed the new found recognition from the Examiner and Puck.