A keen-eyed chronicler of everyday life in Dublin city and suburbs, Harry Kernoff was born into a Jewish family that had fled from pogroms in Belarus, to the safety of London. His father, Isaac Kernoff, was a cabinet maker and when Harry was fourteen years old, the family moved from Stepney to Dublin, where Isaac joined the firm of Louis Gurevich, who had a cabinet making workshop on Capel Street. Settling in Stamer Street, in Dublin’s Jewish quarter, Kernoff, while serving an apprenticeship with his father, also attended evening classes at the Metropolitan School of Art, along with his brother Hyman. In 1923, a Taylor Scholarship enabled Kernoff to visit Paris, and to become a full time student at the Metropolitan School, where his teachers included Sean Keating, Patrick Tuohy and Harry Clarke. In 1926, the first exhibition of Kernoff’s work was held, at 7 Stephen’s Green, and over the following years he showed frequently, with the Society of Dublin Painters, the RHA and other group exhibitions and single person shows. Kernoff travelled to the USSR in 1930 and several of his paintings were reproduced in Iskusstvo y massy (Art to the Masses), a revolutionary art journal in Russia. In 1939 he travelled to New York, to paint a mural for the Irish pavilion at the World’s Fair.
Idyllic views of Dublin such as the present are rare in Kernoff's work; most of his paintings depict the working class areas of the city and suburbs of Sandymount and Dalkey.
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