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Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - The Stargazer

The Stargazer

Jack B. Yeats (1871 – 1957)

© Estate of Jack B Yeats. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2013

  • Artist
    Jack B. Yeats
  • Title
    The Stargazer
  • Date
    1900
  • Dimensions
    46 × 30.5cm
  • Medium
    Watercolour
  • Collection
    Niland Collection
  • Provenance
    Bought by Sligo County Library and Museum from the Capuchin Annual in 1962.
Description

Yeats transforms an image of a jockey on horseback into a poignant and poetic idea in this early watercolour. The cut-off composition emphasises the strength of the horse whose powerful head and neck is raised up as he moves along. The jockey, who keeps a firm grip on the reins, is presented as a shadowy but skilful figure. The left-hand side of the composition is devoted to an open view of the landscape. Knocknarea can be seen in the distance beyond the purple of the roadway and the evening lights of the cottages.

The title, Stargazer, refers to the way in which the horse and man are concerned with the evening sky rather than the road ahead. Their connection to their surroundings is therefore far from mundane. Yeats introduces a mystical element in which the rider’s interest in the celestial sphere transcends ordinary experience. The painting was shown in one of Yeats’s earliest Sketches from Life in the West of Ireland exhibitions in Dublin in 1900. Its composition was misread by at least one reviewer who felt the country racer carried the head abnormally high (1). But the painting’s ability to inject metaphysical ideas into depictions of rural Irish life was of enormous significance to Irish visual art of this period.

(1) The Nation, 1900, undated cutting, Yeats Archive, National Gallery of Ireland.

Written by Roisin Kennedy

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  1. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Fortune and her wheel
  2. Sir William Orpen RHA, RA AWS (1878-1931) - Portrait of Michael Davitt
  3. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Cartoon for Figure of Christ
  4. Patrick Scott (b. 1921) - Bog Sun (16)
  5. George William Russell(AE) (1867-1935) - Landscape with Woman and Children
  6. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Susan Mary (Lily) Yeats as a child
  7. Louis le Brocquy - Study towards an Image of W.B. Yeats
  8. George William Russell (AE) (1867-1935) - Portrait of Mary Colum
  9. Maurice MacGonigal, PRHA (1900 - 1979) - Country Scene
  10. Maurice MacGonigal, PRHA (1900 - 1979)- Port Rachrainn
  11. Rita Duffy (b.1959) -Seige ||
  12. Maurice MacGonigal, PRHA (1900 - 1979) - The Gathering
  13. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Simon the Cyrenian
  14. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Mountain window
  15. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Leaving the Far Point
  16. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)-A Western Town, Night
  17. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Car is at the door
  18. Norah McGuinness - Tide Receding, Dublin Bay
  19. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)-Red Hanrahan’s Vision
  20. Sean Keating PRHA (1889 - 1979) - Turf-Gatherer
  21. Sean Keating (1889-1977)- Head of a Boy
  22. Sean Keating (1889-1977)- Old Kitty
  23. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - Communicating with Prisoners
  24. atrick Hall - Jesus Walking on the Sea