Harry Kernoff RHA 1900-1974

Harry Kernoff (Kernov) was born in London in 1900 of Russian immigrant parents who fled from anti-Jewish pogroms in Vitebsk. The family emigrated to Dublin in 1914 and took up residence in Stamer Street. His father Isaac was a furniture maker and the young Harry first worked as his assistant to this trade. It was in the Irish capital that the young artist fulfilled his true vocation to become an artist. He soon began to attend night classes at the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art winning the All- Ireland Taylor Scholarship in 1923, the first night student ever to do so. He exhibited at every RHA from 1926 onwards. He was influenced by Sean Keating and Patrick Tuohy, both brilliant painters who were his contemporaries. Devoting himself fully to art, Kernoff chronicled Irish life, being escentially an urban painter who cast ordinary people in their dignity of going about their daily tasks in the city, at work, at play and in the theatres and taverns. He imbued them with graphic colour and a hard-edged stance that is now recognised for its unique vision. Those of us who dwell by Anna Livia’s banks must give thanks to him for the always fresh way he looked on the physical backdrop of the city with its streets, shops and houses, lanes and alleys, bridges, crescents, churches, pubs and theatres. His work – wheather it be in oils, pastels or wood-cut has clarity and sensibility. His work fetch strong prices, yet during his lifetime he barely made a living from his art. But, if Time ravages Fashion, it also endorses and copper-fastens a great talent, as it proves with Harry Kernoff

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