Johann Fischer was born into an Austrian farming family of seven children. He was trained as a baker but was conscripted into the German army in 1940 and later captured by American troops. Following his release in 1946, he returned to work on his family’s farm but in 1957, suffering from delusional episodes, began to receive psychiatric treatment. In 1961 he was committed to the Klosterneuburg Hospital near Vienna.
This institution, also known as Gugging, has as part of its campus the Haus der Künstler, a house dedicated to artists and their creative pursuits. It was during his institutionalization that Fischer began drawing and became a resident of the Haus der Künstler in 1981. His works first featured single figures in predominantly brown and yellow colors, but grew in complexity to include narrative text and polychromal figures.
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