I wrote this essay on the life and work of Jonathan Wade because I believe that he was the most significant Irish painter of his generation, and possibly one of the finest Irish visual artists of the century. This is necessarily a subjective judgment, and whether or not it is upheld by the passage of time few will deny the very real quality and consistency of his art.
I wish to thank a number of individuals for their assistance and encouragement. I am particularly grateful to the artist's widow, Doreen, and also to Johnny Walshe, Jack Harte, Lee Gallaher and Evin Nolan. My thanks must also be expressed to Hayden Murphy and Elizabeth Peavoy for permission to include their poems, to my wife, Anne, for her helpful criticism, to Bruce Arnold and the staff of the Neptune Gallery for their valuable assistance, and finally to the Arts Council for allowing me access to their documents.