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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)- The Metal Man
  2. Rita Duffy (b.1959) - Belfast Pieta
  3. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)-A Western Town, Night
  4. Jack B. Yeats - Crest of the Hill
  5. George William Russell (AE) (1867-1935) - Portrait of Mary Colum
  6. Jack B. Yeats - White Shower
  7. Marie Foley (b. 1959) - The Great Breath
  8. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Douglas Hyde
  9. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- A Sunday Morning in Sligo
  10. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Funeral of Harry Boland
  11. Estella Solomons - Woman in Riding Habit
  12. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Bay Pilot, The River Pilot, The Stevedore, The Ganger and the Gang
  13. Maurice MacGonigal, PRHA (1900 - 1979) - The Gathering
  14. Constance Gore-Booth (1868 - 1927) - Untitled (Holloway Jail)
  15. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)-Red Hanrahan’s Vision
  16. Louis le Brocquy - The Táin - Mare and Foals
  17. Kathy Prendergast (b.1958) - Untitled
  18. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - Singing The Minstrel Boy
  19. Rita Duffy (b.1959) -Seige ||
  20. Norah McGuinness - Les Bigoudenes
  21. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Sea and the Lighthouse
  22. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Self Portrait
  23. Nick Miller - John McGahern
  24. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Sailor home from the sea