School of Art

Contact Details

School of Art
Aberystwyth University
Buarth Mawr
SY23 1NG

Tel: +44 (0)1970 622460

Fax: +44 (0)1970 622461


The Gulbenkian Collection

The Gulbenkian Loan Collection of contemporary prints, drawings and small paintings was established in 1960 for students to enjoy in their own private rooms. The scheme was the enterprise of the artist Arthur Giardelli, Lecturer in Art History in the Extra Mural Department. He aspired to interest students in original contemporary art and he persuaded the Calouste-Gulbenkian Foundation to help realise his vision with a one-off grant. Giardelli was committed to the notion of art for public places and in the belief that students' lives would be enriched living with works of art. An exhibition was staged in the first weeks of each academic year and students invited to make their own choice and hire a picture; firstly at 2/6 (12½p) for a year and later 5/- (25p).

Giardelli indulged his passion for the School of Paris artists buying prints by Braque, Chagall, Dufy, Leger and Picasso. There are 114 prints in all representing the work of 75 artists including works by Edward Bawden, Stanley Hayter, Henry Moore, Sidney Nolan, John Piper, William Scott and Graham Sutherland. The scheme also served to encourage artists in Wales; George Chapman, Joseph Herman, Eric Malthouse, John Petts, Ceri Richards, Will Roberts and Kyffin Williams are all represented.

Like similar loan schemes, the Gulbenkian Collection was dogged by the same problems leading to their eventual demise: the heavy burden of administration, the safeguarding of works against damage and theft, maintaining environmental control, and especially a lack of financial and human resources. Over the years the value of many of the items have risen significantly and works have been withdrawn to join the print collection where they could be safely stored and looked after in the appropriate environmental conditions.