The Digital Archive of Arthur Fleischmann (1896 - 1990)

Here we describe the size, scope and context of the digital archive of the sculptor Arthur Fleischmann (AF).

The physical documents have been acquired by the Hyman Kreitman Research Centre of Tate Britain in London, for permanent safe-keeping for the Nation.

The archive has been constructed after AF's death as, as far we are aware, he didn't organize his papers in any systematic way. This archive builds on the work done previously by several other hands, notably Martin Greenwood and AF's son Dominique Fleischmann (DF). It consists of approximately 6,000 letters and documents, both sent (carbon copies) and received by AF, and spans the period immediately before he left Australia in 1948 up until his death in 1990 in Tenerife. The archive material contains predominantly his professional correspondence, but also some personal letters too. The majority of the written material is in English, but there is a significant minority of in-coming letters in other European languages (AF was proficient German, Italian and Hungarian). These letters are gradually being translated into English, but progress is slow.

In addition to letters, there are many invoices for professional services such as casting, sculpting materials, transportation and photography. These have been included in the archive, as they offer a unique insight into the collateral activities of a sculptor that occupy the sculptor's time and energies over and above the creative process.

There is an on-line catalogue of AF's creative work, including his drawings, sculptures and photographs at www.fineartfacts.com, and this archive complements that resource. A key aspect of the archive is that it is integrated with, and cross referenced to, the catalogue of creative work. This makes it easy for the researcher to browse seamlessly from the works of art to the archive, and back again.

AF was born in Pressburg/Pozsony (now Bratislava). He qualified as a medical doctor but almost immediately took up as a sculptor. Some of his earliest works are on buildings in Vienna and in the first few years of his career, he worked in ceramics and bronze. In the mid-1930s he went to South Africa and exhibited there before going to Bali in the late-1930s. There is very little material relating to the pre-Bali period in the archive.

He stayed in Bali until 1939 and converted to Catholicism during his stay. This became an important influence on his subsequent work. He moved on again to Australia in 1939 where he stayed until 1948, when he came to England.

The letters are linked and cross-referenced to the works of art and exhibitions that they concern. They have been catalogued and digitized in broadly chronological order and each item has been scanned with a horizontal resolution of 1000 pixels, and cover the period from the late 1940s while AF was in Australia to his death in 1990. Both incoming and outgoing correspondence is included. From about 1973, the amount of outgoing tends to increase as typed copies were [sporadically] kept. There are in excess of 6,000 individual items.

AF used any available scrap of paper (such as envelopes) to sketch his ideas. Many of these have been scanned and entered in the database. These drawings are cross-referenced to both the works of art with which they are associated, and to the letters that reference them.

Some press cuttings and exhibition catalogues have been scanned and catalogued, and are also cross-referenced to the works of art and the exhibitions to which they refer.

The Digital Archive of Arthur Fleischmann (1896 - 1990)

Here we describe the size, scope and context of the digital archive of the sculptor Arthur Fleischmann (AF).

The physical documents have been acquired by the Hyman Kreitman Research Centre of Tate Britain in London, for permanent safe-keeping for the Nation.

The archive has been constructed after AF's death as, as far we are aware, he didn't organize his papers in any systematic way. This archive builds on the work done previously by several other hands, notably Martin Greenwood and AF's son Dominique Fleischmann (DF). It consists of approximately 6,000 letters and documents, both sent (carbon copies) and received by AF, and spans the period immediately before he left Australia in 1948 up until his death in 1990 in Tenerife. The archive material contains predominantly his professional correspondence, but also some personal letters too. The majority of the written material is in English, but there is a significant minority of in-coming letters in other European languages (AF was proficient German, Italian and Hungarian). These letters are gradually being translated into English, but progress is slow.

In addition to letters, there are many invoices for professional services such as casting, sculpting materials, transportation and photography. These have been included in the archive, as they offer a unique insight into the collateral activities of a sculptor that occupy the sculptor's time and energies over and above the creative process.

There is an on-line catalogue of AF's creative work, including his drawings, sculptures and photographs at www.fineartfacts.com, and this archive complements that resource. A key aspect of the archive is that it is integrated with, and cross referenced to, the catalogue of creative work. This makes it easy for the researcher to browse seamlessly from the works of art to the archive, and back again.

AF was born in Pressburg/Pozsony (now Bratislava). He qualified as a medical doctor but almost immediately took up as a sculptor. Some of his earliest works are on buildings in Vienna and in the first few years of his career, he worked in ceramics and bronze. In the mid-1930s he went to South Africa and exhibited there before going to Bali in the late-1930s. There is very little material relating to the pre-Bali period in the archive.

He stayed in Bali until 1939 and converted to Catholicism during his stay. This became an important influence on his subsequent work. He moved on again to Australia in 1939 where he stayed until 1948, when he came to England.

The letters are linked and cross-referenced to the works of art and exhibitions that they concern. They have been catalogued and digitized in broadly chronological order and each item has been scanned with a horizontal resolution of 1000 pixels, and cover the period from the late 1940s while AF was in Australia to his death in 1990. Both incoming and outgoing correspondence is included. From about 1973, the amount of outgoing tends to increase as typed copies were [sporadically] kept. There are in excess of 6,000 individual items.

AF used any available scrap of paper (such as envelopes) to sketch his ideas. Many of these have been scanned and entered in the database. These drawings are cross-referenced to both the works of art with which they are associated, and to the letters that reference them.

Some press cuttings and exhibition catalogues have been scanned and catalogued, and are also cross-referenced to the works of art and the exhibitions to which they refer.


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Name: Confirming that they will purchase the Miranda fountain for £4000
Author: N. E. Riddihough
Date: 1951
Description: Confirming that they will purchase the Miranda fountain for £4000 to be paid in installments, and inviting AF to lunch. Includes full purchase agreement enclosed as an attachment.
Type: Letter
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