Born into extreme poverty in Regensburg, Germany in 1882, Fischer escaped to sea and served in a variety of merchant sail and steam vessels. He finally made his way ashore in New York at the turn of the century where he applied as a model and handyman for the well known American illustrator A.B. Frost.
Frost's influence led Fischer to Paris where he began studying art at the Acadamie Julien (where he barely missed his contemporary, Arthur Briscoe). Supporting himself as racing crew aboard pleasure yachts, he developed the artistic style and creative sense of purpose that became his trademark.
On his return to the United States, he quickly made a great name for himself as an illustrator. Extremely prolific, he produced an immense variety of subjects with uncanny accuracy. But he was best known for his mystical affinity with the very run of the sea and the way of a ship, and in particular the emotions of the men who sailed in them. In this alone he stands above all his peers.