Signed and dated, bottom right Art Gallery collection pre-1974

George Pennefather (1905–1967)
Watercolour 38 x 55
George Pennefather’s work can be seen in the Crawford Art Gallery; Butler Gallery; LCGA; Waterford Municipal Art Collection
Peter Jordan, The Waterford Municipal Art Collection, Waterford, 2006, Cat. nos., 264, 265, 266; Butler Gallery, Butler Gallery Collection, Kilkenny, Kilkenny, 1999
West Gate, 1953
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George Pennefather was born into a comfortably-off, Anglo-Irish family near Kilworth, County Cork. He taught himself to paint, using watercolour as his medium of choice. His wife Helen was also a painter and they showed their work at the RHA (1950–52), with George also showing at the WCSI (1939–54). He took part in the first Irish Exhibition of Living Art in 1943. The couple pursued an unorthodox lifestyle, touring Ireland in a caravan and later (1939–45) settling in it at Freshford Road, Kilkenny, where they became active advocates for a Kilkenny Art Gallery and were prominent members of the Kilkenny Art Gallery Society. Their efforts were finally rewarded with the foundation of the Butler Art Gallery in Kilkenny in 1973. George Pennefather gave his considerable art collection to the KAGS where it became the basis for the gallery’s collection.The Pennefathers held a joint exhibition at the Victor Waddington Galleries in Dublin in 1946, and following their departure from Kilkenny in 1946 George exhibited at Walker’s Gallery, Bond Street, London (1947), where his show was launched by the novelist and short story writer Elizabeth Bowen. The Pennefathers returned to Kilworth and from there they travelled to Australia, South Africa, Canada, the United States and Mexico. A show of George’s Irish and Australian landscapes was held at the Imperial Hotel, Cork in 1956.Pennefather had returned to live in Kilworth when he painted the West Gate. The subject is a popular one with artists and has been painted many times (see Edward O’Connor page ????), but unlike most of the other depictions of it which opt for a full view of the gate and its projecting tower, Pennefather opted to bring his easel up close to it and paint a cosy view of this end of a quiet street, apparently un-impressed by the historic edifice that dominates it. In keeping with this intimacy, traffic has been kept to a minimum, just a lone pedestrian on the artist’s side of the gate, while a parked car draws the eye under the arch but restricts further exploration of the street beyond. The artist is free to pursue his real concern, the gentle evening shadows on mellow brickwork, painted shopfronts and a dazzlingly clean roadway.