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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)-Red Hanrahan’s Vision
  2. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Self Portrait
  3. Maurice MacGonigal, PRHA (1900 - 1979) - Country Scene
  4. atrick Hall - Jesus Walking on the Sea
  5. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Douglas Hyde
  6. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Shruna Meala, Rosses Point
  7. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Augusta Gregory
  8. James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) - Maunder’s Fishshop, Chelsea
  9. Constance Gore-Booth (1868-1927) - Untitled
  10. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- A Sunday Morning in Sligo
  11. George William Russell (AE) (1867-1935)- Landscape with Picnic Scene
  12. George William Russell (AE) (1867-1935) - Shining Shallows
  13. Sean Keating PRHA (1889 - 1979) - Turf-Gatherer
  14. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of John O’Leary
  15. Norah McGuinness (1903 - 1980) - Hanrahan’s Vision (Illustrations for The Stories of Red Hanrahan)
  16. Artist Unknown - Portrait of a Girl
  17. Marie Foley (b. 1959) - Portrait
  18. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Bay Pilot, The River Pilot, The Stevedore, The Ganger and the Gang
  19. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Car is at the door
  20. Louis le Brocquy - The Táin - Lion
  21. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- He wins
  22. Louis le Brocquy - The Táin - Cúchulainn mounting into his chariot
  23. Norah McGuinness - Les Bigoudenes
  24. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - Communicating with Prisoners