- Category : 1878-births
- Type : PE
- Profile : 3/5 - Martyr / Heretic
- Definition : Triple Split
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Tension 1
German art dealer, art collector, journalist and publisher. Along with Paul Cassirer and Herwarth Walden, he was one of the most important supporters of avant-garde art in the Weimar Republic.
Flechtheim was born into a Jewish merchant family; his father, Emil Flechtheim, was a grain dealer. Alfred became a partner in his father's company after business internships in London and Paris.
Flechtheim appeared in the art world shortly after 1900, with a collection of paintings by Vincent van Gogh, Paul Cézanne; French Avant garde early works of Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque and André Derain; paintings of Wassily Kandinsky, Maurice de Vlaminck, Alexej von Jawlensky, Gabriele Münter, and the Rhein Expressionists Heinrich Campendonk, August Macke, Heinrich Nauen, and Paul Adolf Seehaus. Flechtheim opened his first gallery in Düsseldorf in 1913, followed by galleries in Berlin, Frankfurt, Cologne, and Vienna.
In 1910 he married Betty Goldschmidt (1881-1941), a wealthy Dortmund merchant's daughter. The marriage was childless. In 1913 Swedish artist Nils von Dardel painter his portrait, and the two men had a short and stormy affair.
Flechtheim served in the German Army during World War I, but not at the front. His art business collapsed during the war but he re-opened in Düsseldorf in 1919. In 1921 he founded Der Querschnitt (the Cross Section), a cultural magazine. Legendary, glamorous parties in Flechtheim's gallery overflowed with the glitterati of the new Berlin: movie stars, titans of finance, prizefighters and artists of every stripe.
As Hitler rose to power in the late 1920s and early 1930s, Flechtheim became a bête noire because of the art he espoused and championed. In 1933, Sturmabteilung men broke up an auction of Flechtheim's paintings. In March 1933, an art dealer named Alexander Vömel, a member of the SA or Brown Shirts, confiscated Flechtheim’s Düsseldorf gallery. The Nazis seized and sold off Flechtheim's private collection, as well as the contents of his gallery.
Six months after the Nazis came to power in 1933, Flechtheim, penniless, fled to Paris, and tried to find work with his former business partner, Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler. Flechtheim subsequently organized exhibits in London of the paintings of exiled German artists.
In March 1937 in London, Flechtheim slipped on a patch of ice, was taken to a hospital, punctured his leg on a rusty nail in his hospital bed, developed septicemia leading to amputation of his leg, and died on 9 March, aged 58. Flechtheim's heirs are attempting to recover artworks stolen from Flechtheim. These works reside in German museums and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.