One of Ireland’s celebrated living painters is hosting an inaugural exhibition for his adopted home in east Cork.
Walter K Verling, 85, from Newross, Co Wexford has lifelong connections with Youghal and his 73-piece exhibition intimately captures the local landscape between 1949 and 2015.
The artist’s early years were spent first in Mallow and then Midleton, where an aunt regularly brought him to Youghal beach. In 1961 he married Louise Ní Riada, sister of composer Seán O’Riada, and the couple settled in “a Gothic-style house overlooking Youghal lighthouse,” says the couple’s daughter Katie.
Mr Verling’s niece is the Sinn Féin MEP for Munster Liadh Ní Riada.
He taught art at Youghal Technical School in the 1960s until the family moved to Carraroe, Connemara in 1967. They relocated to Limerick three years later, where Walter taught at Mary Immaculate College. He was awarded membership of the Honorary Council of the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1994 and held a major retrospective in Limerick City Gallery of Art in 2008.
A regular visitor to Youghal, the painter retired there in 2004. Louise died shortly afterwards and Walter remains in the small house they purchased in 1970.
The bi-located showcase of oil paintings and some rare watercolours features 21 private family works displayed in the Mall Arts Centre, with the majority at nearby 84, North Main Street. The pieces are expected to fetch from €600 to €4,000.
Kate describes the exhibition as the fulfilment of her father’s dream “to exhibit locally and free of the strictures of a formal gallery”.
She says her dad hopes primary schoolteachers will bring students to view paintings of familiar places including Youghal’s Moll Goggin’s Corner in 1965; the modern Collegiate Gardens; and Ardmore; Monatrea; and the Blackwater lashing the Lighthouse Hill.
The artist remains a regular sight at his easel in local locations. Depictions of schooners and tall ships are permanent features in the local Moby Dick bar.
The Walter K Verling Exhibition runs until October 2 from 11am to 5pm Inquiries: 087 236 4666.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved