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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. Sean Keating PRHA (1889 - 1979) - William and Mary
  2. George William Russell (AE) (1867-1935) - Portrait of Mary Colum
  3. Sean McSweeney - The Road
  4. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)-A Western Town, Night
  5. Sean Keating PRHA (1889 - 1979) - Turf-Gatherer
  6. Norah McGuinness (1903 - 1980) - Hanrahan’s Vision (Illustrations for The Stories of Red Hanrahan)
  7. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Metal Man
  8. Estella Solomons - Portrait of Sean Milroy
  9. Sean Keating (1889-1977)- Head of a Boy
  10. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- A Sunday Morning in Sligo
  11. George William Russell (AE) (1867-1935) - Shining Shallows
  12. Louis le Brocquy - The Táin - Mare and Foals
  13. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of John O’Leary
  14. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Strand Races, West Of Ireland
  15. Henri Fantin-Latour (1836-1904) - Wood Nymph
  16. Maurice MacGonigal, PRHA (1900 - 1979) - The Gathering
  17. Patrick Hall - Jesus Walking on the Sea
  18. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)-Singing “The beautiful Picture“
  19. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Portrait Figure of an Irish Gentleman
  20. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Augusta Gregory
  21. Sean Keating PRHA (1889 - 1979) - Self Portrait
  22. George William Russell (AE) (1867-1935) - Portrait of Kitsy Franklin
  23. Estella Solomons - Portrait of a Woman
  24. Constance Gore-Booth (1868 - 1927) - Untitled (Holloway Jail)