Born into a Jewish family in 1896 in Pressburg in Austria-Hungary (now Bratislava, Slovakia), Arthur Fleischmann qualified as a medical doctor and later studied sculpture in Vienna and for a time he shared a studio with Karl Duldig, a fellow graduate of Prof. Mullner's class at the Akademie der Bildenen Künste. In 1937 he left Europe for South Africa, then via Zanzibar travelled to Indonesia, staying in Bali for two years. He would have remained there had it not been for the invasion by Japan in 1939, forcing him to seek refuge in Sydney. Here he settled for the next ten years, becoming part of the celebrated artists' commune of Merioola, the celebrated community of internationalist-inspired painters, sculptors and photographers based in the Edgecliffe mansion of the same name known for their light-hearted, decorative approach to artistic creation.
In 1939 he became a member of the Society of Artists . His portrait bust commissions included Cardinal Gilroy, Sir Frederick Jordan, Sir John Butters, Sir Percy Spender, the Jewish pianist Gualtiero Volterra and violinist Jeanne Gautier. He also executed several public sculpture projects, including the Wishing Tree Memorial for the Royal Botanic Gardens (1946) and the Bronze Doors for the Mitchell Wing, State Library of New South Wales, both in Sydney (1947).
When Arthur Fleischmann came to England in 1948 it was his plan to return to his home country but political turmoil prevented this. For ten years he lived and worked in a series of rented properties. In 1955 he married Cecile Joy Burtonshaw and three years later they moved into what had been the purpose-built studio of the sculptor Sir George Frampton at 92 Carlton Hill. Fleischmann was based in London for the rest of his life but continued to visit Australia and exhibit at galleries there. In England he began to work in the new medium of Perspex in the mid-1950s. In the 1960s his works became more abstract, built up in horizontal layers from raw sheets of perspex. He subsequently introduced water as an integral element of his sculptures.
Fleischmann's last work was a Perspex water sculpture entitled Tribute to the Discovery of DNA (1990), which was placed in the new wing of the New South Wales State Library in Sydney. Fleischmann was nominated Fellow of the Royal Society of British Sculptors (FRBS) and received the civilian honour Knight Commander of the Order of St Gregory (KCSG).
He died on a visit to Tenerife in the Canary Islands in March 1990.
In 2001, the Arthur Fleischmann Foundation was formed. Working with the Múzeum Mesta Bratislavy and the City of Bratislava Council, the Foundation helped set up a permanent museum in the house at 6 Biela ulica, Bratislava where Arthur Fleischmann grew up. He is also commemorated with a plaque at his London home, 92 Carlton Hill, Westminster and since 2004 there is a plaque at Favoritenstraße 12 in Vienna (now a hotel), where he lived and worked from 1934 to 1938.
Bio by: Andrew R.
He was cremated in London, and his ashes are spread in the small garden/courtyard of the church of St Francis of Assisi, Pottery Lane, Notting Hill near Holland Park in London.