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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. Rita Duffy (b.1959) - Belfast Pieta
  2. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)-G’Morrow Strawberry
  3. Jack B. Yeats - Crest of the Hill
  4. Maurice MacGonigal, PRHA (1900 - 1979)- Port Rachrainn
  5. Artist Unknown - Portrait of a Girl
  6. Patrick Hall - Jesus Walking on the Sea
  7. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - The Toy Theatre
  8. Kathy Prendergast (b.1958) - Untitled
  9. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Car is at the door
  10. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Untitled, the interior of a shop
  11. George William Russell (AE) (1867-1935) - Shining Shallows
  12. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Susan Mary (Lily) Yeats as a child
  13. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) Portrait of Susan Mary (Lily) Yeats
  14. Louis le Brocquy - Study towards an Image of W.B. Yeats
  15. Louis le Brocquy - Hell Fire Club from Tibradden
  16. Patrick Hall - Angels Ascending and Descending with Heavenly Spectators
  17. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of John O’Leary
  18. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Douglas Hyde
  19. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- He wins
  20. Sean Keating (1889-1977)- Head of a Boy
  21. Nick Miller - Portrait of Barrie Cooke
  22. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Shruna Meala, Rosses Point
  23. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- A Political Meeting (in the West Of Ireland)
  24. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Augusta Gregory