Ernest Zobole  (1927 -1999)

Born in 1927 in the industrial Ystrad Rhondda to parents who had emigrated from southern Italy, Ernest Zobole is firmly established as one of the most important figures in 20th century Welsh visual culture. His very personal view of the Rhondda, his birthplace and constant source of inspiration, can be seen to have provided us with some of the most vibrant and seductive images in post-war Welsh painting.

His subject matter was always his immediate surroundings, breaking up the landscape so that we see fragments of both interior and exterior, often through doorways and windows, and constantly varying scale and perspective. Then there is the human figure, often tentative but ever-present. Indeed, the artist spoke of his paintings seeming incomplete without a human presence. Time and memory are further ingredients in this glorious pictorial stew. Not for nothing was he known as the Chagall of the Valleys.

Behind all this seeming chaos, there is a very sophisticated artist, whose concerns lies very much with the formal construction of, and use of colour in his paintings. All of these elements come together to create totally original and imaginative pictures, with the Rhondda and its people representing a universal humanity for both artist and viewer.


National Museum of Wales; Newport Museum and Art Gallery; Arts Council of Wales; Contemporary Art Society for Wales; University of Wales, Aberystwyth; University College, Swansea; University of Wales, Bangor; University of York; Clare College, Cambridge; St, Mary's College, Twickenham; BBC Wales, Cardiff; Private Collections worldwide.