56 Group Wales:The Founders

Arthur Giardelli (1911 - 2009)


Trevor Bates

Arthur Giardelli was born in London on 11 April 1911 to an English mother and a father of Italian extraction. He was educated at Alleyn's school in Dulwich and then in 1930 went on to read Modern Languages at Oxford University, whilst also studying art at the Ruskin School of Art.

After the war he was appointed tutor in the department of extra-mural studies at the University College Wales, Aberystwyth, and he moved with his family to live at Pendine in Carmarthenshire. He eventually settled in Warren, Pembrokeshire, with his artist wife Bim Giardelli, where his home 'The Golden Plover', a former schoolhouse, became his studio and the gallery for his extensive collection of modern, European art.

Three years after becoming one of the founder members of the 56 Group, Arthur Giardelli was appointed its chairman, a position he was to hold for nearly forty years. He became president in 1998. A tireless worker on the group's behalf, it was largely due to him that so many exhibitions were organised both at home and abroad.

Giardelli will best be remembered for his relief constructions, made from found objects and painstakingly formed. He would scour the locality for the unusual and the unwanted.

For his contribution to art in Wales, Arthur Giardelli was awarded an MBE in 1973. He continued to make art, receive visitors and play the piano in his nineties. He died on 2 November 2009

The works of Arthur Giardelli MBE can be found in the following collections:-

Amgueddfa Cymru-National Museum Wales, Cardiff; Arts Council of Great Britain; Contemporary Art Society for Wales; Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea; Keble College, Oxford; Dublin City Gallery, Dublin; Musée des Beaux Arts, Nantes; National Gallery, Bratislava; National Gallery, Prague; National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth; Newport Museum and Art Gallery, Newport; Saidenberg Gallery, New York; Tate, London; other public and private collections.