56 Group Wales:The Founders

Ernest Zobole (1927 - 1999)


Trevor Bates

Ernest Zobole was born in Ystrad Rhondda, South Wales, on 27th April 1927. His Italian parents had emigrated to South Wales early in the twentieth century where his father found work in the coalmines whilst also helping his mother run a shop.

Zobole was educated at Porth Grammar School and after he had completed his army service he entered Cardiff College of Art where he remained until 1953.

During the early 1950s Zobole met the German Expressionist painter Heinz Koppel, then working at the Dowlais Settlement, whose dedicated breaking of pictorial rules prompted him to rethink his work.

Just a few years later both men were to become founder members of the 56 Group.

Zobole’s paintings took on a dream like quality and  his subject matter, often depicted  through doors and windows, would invariably portray his local environment. His unique style has placed him as one of Wales’ most innovative artists.

Ernest Zobole died on 27 November 1999 and was predeceased by his wife and childhood sweetheart Christina Zobole.

The works of Ernest Zobole can be found in the following collections:-

Amgueddfa Cymru-National Museum Wales, Cardiff; Contemporary Art Society for Wales; Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea; Newport Museum and Art Gallery; School of Art Gallery and Museum, Aberystwyth University; Swansea University; University of Glamorgan, Pontypridd; Wrexham County Borough Museum; other public and private collections.