Pavel Fleischmann was a Jewish artist that’s primarily known for his landscapes, still lifes and portraits. He was born in Pilsen but emigrated to Sweden in 1939 following the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Nazis.
It’s hard to imagine the stark contrast in Fleischmann’s life between the years of 1938 and 1939. Until then, he’d been immersed in his art and undertaking study trips throughout Europe. He’s recorded as having travelled to Paris, Italy, Vienna, and the Riviera - where he lived for a while in 1925. He was also frequenting museums and galleries for inspiration and in 1928, during a trip to the Modern Gallery in Prague, he met his wife-to-be, the Swedish painter Ida Nyström.
Little is known of the period between 1928 and 1939 but it’s easy to imagine the pair working closely together - he’d found a partner that shared his artistic passions.
But in 1939, the World changed following the outbreak of World War II and the streets of Prague were awash with Third Reich iconography. Life for Fleischmann would never be the same. Following German occupation, Czech citizens were required to hold documentation stating they were not of Roma or Jewish descent and many chose to take their own lives.
Due to Pavel Fleischmann’s marriage to Ida, he had the opportunity to emigrate to Sweden, but this wasn’t a straightforward decision. By leaving the country, he may find safety, yet he would be leaving behind the majority of his friends and family.
By 1945, 90 of his relatives had died in concentration camps.
One can only imagine how the trauma affected him and undoubtedly it had an effect on his work. It seems that during his time in Sweden, he focused primarily on painting scenes and landscapes from regions with a large Jewish contingent. These included Subcarpathian Russia where he produced “Prayer in the synagogue, Tashlich, Sukkot in the synagogue, Market in Mukachevo, Shema Yisroel, and Yom Kippur.”
He also exhibited regularly including at a show organised by "Artists in Exile" in Stockholm and Gothenburg. He was often working in pastels with bold colour choices.
Following the death of Ida in 1960, Fleischmann moved to an old house in Stockholm and continued to work. During this period, he produced various pieces with biblical motifs such as “Conquest of Jerusalem” and “Saul and David”.
Today, several works by Pavel Fleischmann are housed in various public collections including the National Museum in Stockholm, and the Jewish Museum in Prague.
Studied: School of Applied Arts, Prague, Academy of Fine Arts, Munich, Academy of Fine Arts, Prague
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