Arthur Giardelli

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Arthur Giardelli
Born Vincent Charles Arthur Giardelli
(1911-04-11)11 April 1911
Stockwell, London, England
Died 2 November 2009(2009-11-02) (aged 98)
Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, Wales
Nationality UK

Ruskin School of Art,

Hertford College, Oxford
Known for Painting, assemblage
Elected The Welsh Group, 56 Group Wales

Vincent Charles Arthur Giardelli, MBE, (11 April 1911 – 2 November 2009) was a Welsh artist of Italian paternal descent.[1][2][3]

Giardelli's work is held in many collections including the Tate, the National Museum of Wales, the National Library of Wales, Contemporary Art Society of Wales, Arts Council of Wales, Museum of Modern Art Wales, Brecknock Museum, Tenby Museum and Art Gallery together with museums and galleries in New York City, Dublin, Nantes, Bratislava and Prague.[1][2][4][5]


Giardelli was raised in Surrey and attended Hertford College, Oxford, where he did a degree in Modern Languages.[1][2][6] He later trained at the Ruskin School of Art, Oxford, 1930–34. He lived most of his life in Wales and was represented by the Grosvenor Gallery in London for a large part of his career. He was a friend of artists Cedric Morris, David Jones, Josef Herman and Ceri Richards. He also had international artist friends including Zoran Mušič, Olivier Debré and Fairfield Porter.[1][2] He was pro-active in bringing art into south Wales' communities: In the Second World War, Harvey Grammar School, Folkestone, where he taught, being evacuated, he became part of the Dowlais Educational Settlement Movement, and was influential in setting up the Rhondda Group. A Christian pacifist, influenced by Gandhi, he registered as a conscientious objector, leading to his dismissal as a teacher, even though he worked part-time in the National Fire Service. In 1948 Arthur Giardelli was one of the founders of the South Wales Group[7] (which later became The Welsh Group) and the 56 Group Wales, of which he became president towards the end of his life. He was also on the committee of the Contemporary Art Society for Wales and on the Welsh Arts Council.[1] He helped found the University Art Collection at Aberystwyth.[1][2][8]


Giardelli first began to take his art seriously in the 1940s, when he arrived in Merthyr Tydfil, where he first met Cedric Morris and Heinz Koppel who both encouraged him. The town had an immediate impact on Giardelli; he once told poet Meic Stephens that "when the train finally pulled into Merthyr, I felt I'd come home".[2]

Giardelli felt he had to constantly draw, paint and create and feared a world where his creative practice wasn't part of his life. He said "If I don't paint for a month, I may give it up for ever, so the constant challenge is that you must keep working. You must paint. You must draw. It's like speaking".[9][10]

Giardelli used watercolours and found materials, including shells and driftwood. He was perhaps best known for his abstract relief constructions inspired by nature and the seasons.[1][2] Conversely he was also inspired by Modernist artists including Piet Mondrian.[11]


  • 1970: the Visual Art prize at the National Eisteddfod of Wales
  • 1973: was made an MBE
  • 1979: British Council Award winner
  • 1979–85: Honorary Fellow at University College Aberystwyth
  • 1986: Silver Medal of the Czechoslovak Society for International Relations
  • 2002 Cyfaill Celfyddyd Cymru (Friend of Welsh Art) medal from the National Eisteddfod of Wales.


  • Arthur Giardelli: Paintings, Constructions, Relief Sculptures – Conversations with Derek Shiel, Seren, Bridgend 2001.[12]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Arthur Giardelli obituary". The Guardian. 11 November 2009. Retrieved 2 November 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Stephens, Meic (6 November 2009). "Arthur Giardelli: Painter steeped in the avant-garde who used found objects to evoke the forces of nature". The Independent. Retrieved 2 November 2013. 
  3. ^ "artist bio". Retrieved 12 June 2015. 
  4. ^ "'The Sea is All About Us', Arthur Giardelli – Tate". Retrieved 12 June 2015. 
  5. ^ Painting(s) by or after Arthur Giardelli at the Art UK site. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
  6. ^ Nicola Heywood Thomas. "BBC Blogs – Wales – Arthur Giardelli". Wales. Retrieved 12 June 2015. 
  7. ^ "Heritage Minister Opens Welsh Group at 60 Exhibition". Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru/National Library of Wales. 19 November 2008. Archived from the original on 6 July 2013. Retrieved 15 July 2013. 
  8. ^ "Arthur Giardelli". Archived from the original on 13 June 2015. Retrieved 12 June 2015. 
  9. ^ [1][dead link]
  10. ^ Peter Wakelin, "Arthur Giardelli & the Art of Conversation", published in the New Welsh Review, No.55, pp.43–48
  11. ^ "Learning – Arthur Giardelli". BBC. Retrieved 12 June 2015. 
  12. ^ Arthur Giardelli. "Paintings, Constructions, Relief Sculptures". ISBN 9781854112385. Retrieved 12 June 2015.