Valerie Ganz, “Miners Changing After Work”, Date Unknown, Mixed Media, 53 x 44 cm, Private Collection
Born in 1936 in Swansea, Wales, Valerie Ganz studied art in her hometown, later working as a teacher and lecturer. She left teaching in 1973 to concentrate on full-time painting. Ganz became known as one of Wales’ most intrepid and original painters. Fascinated by the working life of Welsh coal miners, she regularly entered the mines the paint them as they worked and gathered.
Ganz eventually moved to Six Bells, Abertillery, where she took a house and studio to spend a year painting at the Six Bells Colliery. Her work formed the basis of many exhibitions, particularly the “Mining in Art” exhibition in 1986 at the Glynn Vivian Gallery in Swansea. Ganz also spent a year painting daily at the Central School of Ballet in London and painted behind the scenes at the Moscow State Circus. She died in September of 2015 at the age of seventy-nine, after struggling with ill health.