Ancient Art from the Collection of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman


A Passion for Antiquities: Ancient Art from the Collection of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman


368 pages

PDF file size: 39.3 MB


The collection of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman of New York is one of the most important private collections of ancient Greek and Roman art in the United States and among the most important in the world. Composed of approximately three hundred objects from the Bronze Age to the Late Antique, it includes bronze statuettes, marble sculpture, vases, jewelry, lamps and candelabra, keys, weights, and silver bowls and utensils.

The Fleischmans have a particular fascination with pieces associated with everyday life in antiquity, since these objects evoke a human connection to the past. They are also drawn to pieces that exemplify the human propensity to transform a functional object into a thing of beauty. Not only has their emotional response to an object’s aesthetic appeal or its historical significance guided them in their forty years of collecting, personal interests have been at work as well. The large number of pieces related to the theater or representing theatrical subjects reflects Barbara Fleischman’s lifelong love of that art.

A Passion for Antiquities contains photographs and extensive catalogue entries on the objects included in the exhibition at the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Cleveland Museum of Art. Eighteen contributors provide art historical and descriptive information about each piece. The objects not selected for the exhibition are detailed in a checklist that specifies their origins, dates, media, and sizes.

This book is the first major reference on the entire collection, since most of the objects have never before been publicly shown. To facilitate finding specific objects or groups of objects, the book is organized first chronologically and then by medium. Bibliographic sources for each entry cite both publications where the specific work is discussed as well as references to related scholarship. Karol Wight provides a chronological overview of the collection, and Oliver Taplin relates selected pieces to the development of Greek theater.

The exhibition of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman’s collection and this catalogue allow us to enter into their minds and emotions so that, for a time, we can share their passion for antiquities.

Table of Contents

  • Foreword
    John Walsh and Robert Bergman
  • Preface
    Barbara and Lawrence Fleishman
  • Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman: Guardians of the Past
    Marion True and Arielle Kozloff
  • Chronological Overview of the Fleischman Collection
    Karol Wight
  • The Beauty of the Ugly: Reflections of Comedy in the Fleischman Collections
    Oliver Taplin
  • Reference Map
  • Abbreviations
  • Note to the Reader
  • Catalogue of the Exhibition
    • Greece in the Bronze Age
    • Greece from the Geometric Period to the Late Classical
    • The Western Greek Colonies in South Italy and Sicily
    • Etruria
    • The Hellenistic World after the Death of Alexander
    • Rome and the Providences from the Republic to the Late Antique
  • Checklist of Objects in the Fleischman Collection Not Included in the Exhibition
  • Glossary of Frequently Cited Terms