About / Collections / Abstract and Constructivist Collection

Abstract and Constructivist Collection

The Abstract and Constructivist Collection focuses on the non-objective, constructive and concrete art movements of the 20th century and related fields of design and architecture.

The collection comprises over 400 works. These includes furniture, architectural models as well as paintings, sculpture, reliefs, multiples, and works on paper.

Due to its unique focus, the collection is now of national importance.


In 1968, the University decided to form a collection of 20th century art on a theme that reflected the utopian spirit of the new University, with its modernist campus and multi-disciplinary ethos.

Common themes

General concerns of artists, designers and architects whose works are represented include some or all of the following: a refined form of abstraction with a restrained vocabulary of colours and geometric forms offering an alternative vision of art. The importance of structure, systems and mathematical processes as components of a work of art. In the age of the machine, there was a rejection of the literal, narrative and descriptive elements in art.

Art movements represented

The collection covers major art movements of the 20th century, including:

  • The English Vorticists
  • The Russian Suprematists and Constructivists
  • The Dutch De Stijl Group
  • Members of the German Bauhaus School
  • The French Purists
  • British artists represented in the avant-garde publication, Circle
  • Concrete movement in Brazil

Important artists represented:

Duncan Grant, David Bomberg, Natalia Goncharova, Wassily Kandinsky, Bart Van der Leck, Cesar Domela, László Moholy-Nagy, Joseph Albers, Johannes Itten, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Hans Arp, Amedee Ozenfant, Auguste Herbin, Robert Delaunay, Sonia Delaunay, Lygia Clark, Francois Morellet, Max Bill, Ben Nicholson, John Cecil Stephenson, Kenneth Martin, Victor Pasmore.