Arthur Fleischmann (1896, Bratislava – 2 March 1990, Tenerife) was a Slovak-born, London-based sculptor, who pioneered the use of perspex in sculpture. He spent time in Bali, and in Australia, where he was at the centre of the Merioola Group, before settling in London.
Fleischmann was born in 1896 in Pressburg, Austria-Hungary (now Bratislava, Slovakia). He studied medicine in Budapest and Prague, before turning to sculpture, and winning a scholarship to the Master School of Sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.
He left Europe in 1937, travelling to South Africa and Zanzibar before spending two years in Bali, where he converted from his native Judaism to Catholicism, with the encouragement of a Dutch colonial missionary, Father Buys. The forms of traditional Balinese dancers became a lifelong influence on Fleischmann’s work.
Fleeing the Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies, Fleischmann moved to Australia in 1939, where he became the centre of the Merioola Group, named after his home in Rosemont Avenue, Woollahra. He was elected a member of the Society of Artists in Sydney, sculpting portraits of prominent Australians including Cardinal Gilroy, Governor-General Lord Gowrie, Sir Frederick Jordan, Sir John Butters, Sir Percy Spender, the pianist Gaultiero Volterra and violinist Jeanne Gautier.
His two best-known works from this period are the 1946 wishing tree memorial I wish for the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney; and the Bronze Doors on the Mitchell Wing of the State Library of New South Wales, given by Sir William Dixson in honour of David Scott Mitchell.