Bert Flugelman

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Herbert 'Bert' Flugelman (1923 – 26 February 2013) was a prominent Australian visual artist who had many of his works publicly displayed. He is known for his stainless steel geometric sculptures.[1]


Flugelman was born in Vienna, Austria in 1923 and migrated to Australia in 1938 when he was 15 years old. It was on the eve of World War II. From 1943 to 1946 Flugelman served in the Australian army (non combative duties) and from 1948 to 1951 he studied at the National Art School in Sydney.

From 1951 to 1955 he travelled to Europe including a visit in 1954 to Spain with his artist friend John Copnall.[2] In 1952 he contracted polio which left him with a mobility disability. However, this did not stop him holding several successful exhibitions at the Piccadilly Gallery in London and the Barone Gallery in New York before returning to Australia in 1955.

Cones (1976-1982) in the Sculpture Garden of the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

From 1972 to 1983, Flugelman was a lecturer at the South Australian School of Art, and subsequently became head of sculpture. During this period he completed some of his most famous work, in particular Festival Sculpture 1974, Spheres 1977 and Cones at the National Gallery of Australia in 1982.

From 1984 to 1990, Flugelman was senior lecturer and fellow at the School of Creative Arts, University of Wollongong. In 1991 he was made professorial fellow at the University of Wollongong. In 1995, he received an honorary Doctorate of Creative Art (Honoris Causa) and in 1997, he received the Australia Council, Visual Arts/Craft Fund, Emeritus Award.

Flugelman's career has not been without controversy such as when he created the chainsaw carving of Margaret Thatcher and "The Silver Shish Kebab" placed in Martin Place, Sydney which was heavily criticised by Sydney's Lord Mayor Frank Sartor that led to the sculpture being moved to Spring Street.

In 2008, a hard-bound survey of his post-1968 sculptures, primarily his stainless-steel work, was published by The Watermark Press. It was written by Emeritus Professor Peter Pinson (whose Sydney art gallery represented Flugelman), with photography by David Perry. The book was designed by Harry Williamson.

At the time of his death in February 2013, Flugelman resided at Bowral on the Southern Highlands of New South Wales.

List of works[edit]

The following is a partial list of the Flugelman's completed works. It includes the location of the publicly displayed pieces mentioned.

Year Work Location Image
1962 high relief sand panels cast in concrete A.O.R., Kurnell, New South Wales
1965 untitled six figure group, cast bronze, commissioned 1964 [3] Goldstein courtyard, University of New South Wales, Kensington, New South Wales
1966–1967 untitled, welded copper and mosaic fountain [4] Bruce Hall, Australian National University, Canberra untitled (welded copper and mosaic fountain)
1967 NSW Coat of Arms, double-sided in oxidised bronze[5] State Office Block, Phillip and Bent Streets, Sydney (demolished 1997)
1973 Continuum, stainless steel sculpture [6] Garden South of Johnson Building, University of Adelaide, Adelaide
1974 Tetrahedra (Festival Sculpture), stainless steel sculpture [7] Adelaide Festival Centre, Adelaide Tetrahedra
1975 The Knot, stainless steel sculpture [8] Light Square, Adelaide (since 2003), 1975-1995 at Art Gallery of South Australia
1977 Spheres, stainless steel sculpture (popularly known as the Mall's Balls)[9] Rundle Mall, Adelaide Spheres (Mall's Balls)
1978 Spiral and Wave, stainless steel sculpture [10] Outside Wollongong City Gallery, Wollongong, New South Wales
1978 Pyramid Tower (Dobell Memorial), stainless steel sculpture (Silver Shish Kebab) Spring Street, Sydney (initially at Martin Place, Sydney) Pyramid Tower (Dobell Memorial or Silver Shish Kebab)
1978/1979 Tumbling Cubes, stainless steel sculpture [11] Margaret Timpson Town Park, Belconnen, Canberra Tumbeling Cubes
1982 Cones, stainless steel sculpture, commissioned 1976[12] Sculpture Garden of the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra Cones
1985 Gateway to Mount Keira, stainless steel sculpture [13] University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales
1985 stainless steel sculpture Penrith Regional Gallery, Emu Plains, New South Wales
1988 Winged Figure, stainless steel sculpture [10][14] (Lawrence Hargrave Memorial) University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales Winged Figure (Lawrence Hargrave Memorial)
1988 three sculptures Melbourne Hotel Development
1995/1996 stainless steel, granite, bronze, sandstone sculpture private collection
1999/2000 Federation Arch, stainless steel sculpture [15] Orange Botanical Gardens, Orange, New South Wales
2004/2005 Caryatid minotaur, stainless steel sculpture [16]
2005 Tribute, sculpture honouring Richard Llewellyn, stainless steel and black granite Adelaide Festival Centre, Adelaide
2006 Slow Spiral, stainless steel sculpture, installed 2007 [17] Queens Plaza, Brisbane
2007 Tetrapus, stainless steel sculpture
2007 Three sculptures from the Transition series [18] Library, Wollongong University, Wollongong, New South Wales
2009 Serpent II, stainless steel sculpture Foyer, 28 Freshwater Place, Melbourne Serpent II
2009 Stainless steel sculpture[19] Corbett Plaza, Bong Bong Street, Bowral NSW


  1. ^ Malls Balls designer Bert Flugelman dies, aged 90, Herald Sun, 27 February 2013
  2. ^ Jerry Knight, All About Horsham Magazine, Article on Bainbridge Copnall, May 2013
  3. ^ [1], UNSW Art Collection Sculpture Walk
  4. ^ Bert Flugelman: Untitled, Sculpture on Acton Campus, Australian National University
  5. ^ "NSW Coat of Arms, State Office Block". NSW Office of Environment and Heritage. 1 September 2012. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
  6. ^ Continuum in Public Art Online, City of Adelaide
  7. ^ Tetrahedra in Public Art Online, City of Adelaide
  8. ^ The Knot Archived 30 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine in Public Art Online, City of Adelaide
  9. ^ Spheres Archived 30 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine in Public Art Online, City of Adelaide
  10. ^ a b "Public Art Guide" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 August 2007. (775 KB) , City of Wollongong
  11. ^ Margaret Timpson Town Park
  12. ^ Flugelman, Bert: Cones
  13. ^ Bert Flugelman: Gateway to Mount Keira Archived 3 March 2011 at the Wayback Machine in UOW Art Collection
  14. ^ Bert Flugelman: Winged Figure Archived 3 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine in UOW Art Collection
  15. ^ Bert Flugelman – Federation Arch in Public Art, Orange Regional Council
  16. ^ Sculpture Prize 2005
  17. ^ Queens Plaza Flugelman
  18. ^ Bert Flugelman in the Library Archived 18 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ Murray, Robyn (22 July 2009). "Get a glimpse of future sculpture". Southern Highland News. Retrieved 15 March 2019.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]