Guide to the Papers of Arthur Segal (1875-1944)

AR 7105

Processed by LBI Staff and Malte Krumrey

Leo Baeck Institute

Center for Jewish History

15 West 16th Street

New York, N.Y. 10011

Phone: (212) 744-6400

Fax: (212) 988-1305



© 2007 Leo Baeck Institute. All rights reserved.
Center for Jewish History, Publisher.
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Descriptive Summary

Creator: Segal, Arthur
Title: Arthur Segal Collection
Abstract: The Arthur Segal collection contains personal and professional correspondence, manuscripts of essays and books, as well as drafts for speeches by the Dadaist and naturalist painter Arthur Segal. To a lesser extent, there are clippings and photographs.
Languages: The collection is in German and English as well as in Romanian, French and Italian.
Quantity: 2 linear feet.
Identification: AR 7105
Repository: Leo Baeck Institute
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Biographical Note

Arthur Segal was born in 1875 in Iasi (Jassy), Romania. He left school early and went to Berlin, Munich and Paris to study painting. He was a co-founder of the "Neue Sezession" in Berlin (1910), a group of artists that included Emil Nolde and Karl Schmidt-Rotluff ("Die Bruecke"), whose paintings were rejected by the "Berliner Sezession." He also exhibited with artists of the group "Der blaue Reiter." From 1914 to 1920 Arthur Segal lived in Ascona, Switzerland, which proved to be a refuge for many artists at the time. In 1920 he moved back to Berlin, where he founded his own painting school in 1923.

A follower of impressionism and neo-impressionism at the beginning of his painting career, he approached a more expressionist style from 1910 to 1914, before sympathizing with Dadaism and finding his own style from 1915/1916 on. In the late 1920s, Segal became an advocate of naturalism and searched for the objective principles of painting (one of his book manuscripts is called: "The objective principles of painting," 1937). He was a member of the artist groups "Die Autonomen" and "Die Juryfreien," and served as director of the "Novembergruppe." In 1925 he rejected a teaching position at the New Bauhaus in Dessau. Besides his work as a painter, a painting teacher and his numerous functions in the artist community, Segal created woodcuts, wrote book-manuscripts, published numerous essays in art-journals ad newspapers, and gave lectures on the radio and live for various organizations. Following a ban on exhibiting his art, Arthur Segal left Germany in 1933 and moved to Mallorca, Spain. Later, he immigrated to London and succeeded in opening another painting school.

In addition to his work as an artist, Arthur Segal was interested in psychology and psychotherapy and conducted correspondence with many famous psychoanalysts and psychiatrists of the time. He especially researched the effects of painting in order to cure mental illnesses, and his attempts were acknowledged among psychologists and psychoanalysts alike.

Arthur Segal died in London in 1944.

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Scope and Content Note

The Arthur Segal Collection contains manuscripts and typescripts of speeches, essays and books of varied length (some up to several hundred pages). They deal with various art-related topics, as well as literal and philosophical subject matters. Some of the manuscripts deal with the cure of mental diseases through painting or art in general.

Arthur Segal's correspondence comprises of letters of known artists, writers and architects like Ludwig Meidner, Salomo Friedlaender, Ludwig Rubiner and J.J.P. Oud. There are also letters from famous psychoanalysts and psychiatrists like Ernst Simmel and Franz Alexander, and the copy of a short letter of recommendation by Sigmund Freud.

There are drafts of Segal's speeches and lectures, given at his painting school, on the radio, or on various other occasions, for example upon the tenth anniversary of the death of the writer Paul Scheerbart.

To a lesser extent, the collection features newspaper clippings, found in Series III.

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The collection is arranged in three series as follows:

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Access and Use

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Access Information

Readers may access the collection by visiting the Lillian Goldman Reading Room at the Center for Jewish History. We recommend reserving the collection in advance; please visit the LBI Online Catalog and click on the "Request" button.

Use Restrictions

There may be some restrictions on the use of the collection. For more information, contact:
Leo Baeck Institute, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY 10011

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Access Points

Click on a subject to search that term in the Center's catalog. Return to the Top of Page

Separated Material

Photographs removed to the LBI Photograph Collection.

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Custodial History

[information about the chain of ownership of the materials being described, before reaching the archive]

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date (if known); Arthur Segal Collection; AR 7105; box number; folder number; Leo Baeck Institute.

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Container List


Series I: Correspondence, 1914-1955

This series includes German and English.
8 folders


Scope and Content:

Series I contains the correspondence of the Arthur Segal collection. The series includes among others the correspondence of Arthur Segal with the writers Salomo Friedlaender (whose pseudonym was "Mynona") and Ludwig Rubiner, with the artist Ludwig Meidner (whose pseudonym was probably "Ceslaus Lebetoll Mistharke"), and with the architect J.J.P. Oud. Moreover, the series contains letters of recommendation for Arthur Segal by a number of psychiatrists and psychoanalysts, including Ernst Simmel, Franz Alexander, Sigmund Freud (copy) and Ernest Jones, supporting his cause to found a painting school and his research on the expression and cure of mental diseases through art.

Correspondence on the relation between painting and psychology also includes letters of Max Eitingon and Ernst Fraenkel. Letters sent to Arthur Segal as a reaction to his public speeches, and correspondence of his wife and daughters concerning a posthumous exhibition of his art, are also included in Series I.

11Friedlaender, Salomo ("Mynona")undated, 1914-1939
12Meidner, Ludwig ("Ceslaus Lebetoll Mistharke")1932
13Miscellaneousundated, 1924-1933
14Oud, J.J.P.undated, 1926-1930
15Psychoanalysts/Psychiatrists (Letters of recommendation)undated, 1936-1940
16Invitations and reactions to radio speeches/lectures1926-1932
17Rubiner, Ludwigundated, 1914-1915
18Segal, Erna/Ernestine/Marianneundated, 1955
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Series II: Manuscripts,  1915-1966

This series is in German and English.
1.5 linear feet

Series II has three subseries:

Scope and Content:

Series II holds Arthur Segal's book, essay, speech and lecture manuscripts.

Subseries 1: Book Manuscripts, 1915-1966

Subseries 1 is in German and English.
1 linear foot.


Scope and Content:

Subseries contains manuscripts of Arthur Segal's books. Some of the manuscripts are handwritten, others are typed. The manuscripts differ in topics and styles, covering autobiographical themes, lyrics and literature connected with religious and philosophical issues, and books about art. The subseries is mainly German; a few manuscripts in English are translations or later versions of German originals.

19Jehova, Die Tragoedie der Schoepfung1915
110Tagebuch eines Jammerlappen. Das Werk eines Ununterscheidenden, I1916
111Tagebuch eines Jammerlappen. Das Werk eines Ununterscheidenden, II1916
112Ueber Geben und Nehmen1917, 1928
113Grundlagen der "Wesentlichen Kunst"1917
114Ueber den Standpunkt1919
115Ich selbst ueber mich selbst1927/1928
116Die objektiven (unpersoenlichen) Gesetze der Malerei1929
117The objective principles of painting (transl. by Victor Grove)1937
OS 2Objective Principles of Paintingundated
21The objective principles of painting and therapy through art1937
22Autobiography, Part I1939
23Erinnerungen, Volume I
24Unfreiwillige Gedanken1941
25Jehova, the Tragedy of Genesis1966
26Captatio Benevolentiae, "My Cat" (incomplete)undated
27Die Akademieundated
28Die Racheundated
29Interniert. Eine psychologische Selbstanalyseundated
210Jehova’s Zweifel an sich und Erkennen, Fluchgebetundated
212Tagebuch eines Schwachen, Das Werk eines Ununterscheidendenundated
213Zur Psychologie des Geheimnissesundated

Subseries 2: Essays, 1923-1945

This subseries is in German and English.
0.25 linear foot


Scope and Content:

This subseries contains manuscripts of Segal's essays and exposés. Many essays deal with art, therapy through art and the lives of artists, but there are some literal and philosophical essays on more general topics as well. The subseries also holds a "naturalist manifesto" ("Naturalistisches Manifest"), written in 1931. The subseries also contains letters to the editors of newspapers in reaction to published articles. The subseries is arranged chronologically, with the bulk of undated material at the end.

314Letters to the Editorundated, 1926-1927

Subseries 3: Lectures and Speeches,  1919-1945

This subseries is in German.
0.25 linear foot


Scope and Content:

Subseries 3 holds drafts of Segal's lectures and speeches, some of them for radio. The subseries also includes the transcript of a radio discussion between Arthur Segal and Helmut Jaro Jaretzki on art in 1932, and a speech on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the death of the well-known fantasy writer Paul Scheerbart (titled "Paul Scheerbart der Fantast") in 1925.

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Series III: Clippings,  1903-1987

Series III is in German, English, and Italian.
0.25 linear foot


Scope and Content:

Series III includes two scrapbooks with newspaper clippings and articles about Arthur Segal, which he collected himself, most of which are concerned with the exhibitions of his groups "Neue Sezession" and "die Autonomen." Moreover, the series holds newspaper articles written by Arthur Segal; clippings about Winston Churchill; poems by friends dedicated to him; two pamphlets of exhibitions; and a print.

41Scrapbook containing clippings on Arthur Segal1903-1911
42Scrapbook containing clippings on Arthur Segal1911-1912, 1921
43Articles about Arthur Segalundated, 1912, 1932-1935, 1975-1987
44Articles by Arthur Segalundated, 1917-1931
45Poemsundated, 1917-1918
46Clippings on Winston Churchillundated
47Clippings on art to which Arthur Segal responded
48Pamphlets by Artists International Association and Allgemeine Unabhaengige Ausstellung1928, 1938
49Pamphlet and poster of an retrospective of Arthur Segal at a museum in Asconaundated
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