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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.

In the mature work featured in this exhibition, the clean, bright shapes of the hard-edge school are reimagined from a feminine point of view. They are employed to celebrate the lyricism in the female body and the sublime landscape of Southern California. Indeed, Anya’s colors suggest the bright light of Los Angeles, where she lived and worked for her entire career. In her work, the prevailing trends of the time are integrated; hard-edge shapes and soft-edge cubism collaborate to create an art formed in the heart and finished in the mind.

- Jeremy Tessmer, Gallery Director

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