Arthur Gilbert - Biography
Gilbert was born Arthur Bernstein in 1913 in Golders Green, North
London, where his parents had settled after leaving Poland in 1893,
and where his father established a successful business as a furrier.
On 18 December in 1934 Bernstein married Rosalinde Gilbert, a talented
young dress designer, and took his wife's surname to become Arthur
Gilbert. The following year they started their own evening gown
business with Rosalinde as the designer and Arthur as the salesman,
book-keeper and general factotum.
1949 at the age of 36 Mr Gilbert had made enough money to retire
and decided to emigrate to California, looking for the sun and following
in the footsteps of close relatives who had moved there at the turn
of the century. Mr Gilbert embraced the Californian way of life
but was unable to relax and, looking for business opportunities,
became a very successful real estate developer.
Gilbert said: "To me, making money just for the sake of making money
doesn't make any sense. So I evolved into a collector. Simultaneously
I began to support a number of charities in America and in the new
State of Israel". He became a founder of the Los Angeles Music Center,
a trustee of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (where his collection
was on loan for many years), a Director of the American Technion
Foundation and Honorary Trustee of the Armand Hammer United World
College of the American West, a college for high-achieving students
from all over the world.
Europe Mr Gilbert founded the 'February 1941 Foundation' to thank
the Dutch people for their humanitarian support of Dutch Jews and
downed airman during the Second World War. The purpose of the Foundation
is to educate children about anti-Semitism and discrimination and
to fund special projects in schools in Holland. Among other charitable
causes in Israel Mr and Mrs Gilbert founded the Arthur and Rosalinde
Gilbert Centre for the Advancement of Scientific Research, built
the first student dormitory, in memory of the Israeli athletes who
were killed at the Munich Olympic Games, and erected a building
at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem for the teaching of overseas
students of all nationalities and religions.
Arthur was rightly proud of the magnificent collection of works
of art which he began in the 1960s. There are some 800 objects,
essentially in three separate collections. English and Continental
silver, now comprising over 200 pieces, European gold snuff boxes
and Italian mosaics. In each of these fields the collection is among
the most distinguished in the world and its gift to the British
nation in 1996 is one of the most generous ever made. When he heard
of the ambitious and imaginative plans for Somerset House including
turning the Great Court into a concert area Arthur Gilbert said:
"This enthralled me and enticed me to choose Somerset House because
it would become a palace for the people of England and the world".
Gilbert was given the Albert Einstein Award in 1989, The Technion
Award for Man of the Year in 1993 and Humanitarian of the Year Award
from the College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1994. He continued to
live in California and remained an avid collector. The ultimate
beneficiaries of his efforts will be our future generations.
June 1999 Arthur Gilbert was awarded the honour of Knight Bachelor
in H.M. The Queen's Birthday Honours List.
information was kindly supplied by:
Sue Bond Public Relations,
Hollow Lane Farmhouse, Hollow Lane,
Thurston, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP31 3RQ
Tel. 01359 271085
Fax 01359 271934
are very grateful for Sue Bond's help in putting this article together.