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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. George William Russell (AE) (1867-1935) - Portrait of Mary Colum
  2. Rita Duffy (b.1959) -Seige ||
  3. Percy French (1854 - 1920) - A view of Sligo Quay
  4. Constance Gore-Booth (1868 - 1927) - Untitled (Holloway Jail)
  5. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Strand Races, West Of Ireland
  6. Constance Gore-Booth (1868-1927) - Untitled
  7. George William Russell(AE) (1867-1935) - The Sower
  8. Nick Miller - Portrait of Barrie Cooke
  9. Louis le Brocquy - Hell Fire Club from Tibradden
  10. James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) - Maunder’s Fishshop, Chelsea
  11. Sir William Orpen RHA, RA AWS (1878-1931) - Portrait of Michael Davitt
  12. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)-Red Hanrahan’s Vision
  13. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Metal Man
  14. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Johnny Paterson singing ’Bridget Donoghue’
  15. Maurice MacGonigal, PRHA (1900 - 1979) - Country Scene
  16. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Susan Mary (Lily) Yeats as a child
  17. Maurice MacGonigal, PRHA (1900 - 1979) - The Gathering
  18. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- He wins
  19. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Car is at the door
  20. Norah McGuinness (1903 - 1980) - Hanrahan’s Vision (Illustrations for The Stories of Red Hanrahan)
  21. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Augusta Gregory
  22. Maurice MacGonigal, PRHA (1900 - 1979)- Port Rachrainn
  23. Marie Foley (b. 1959) - To Measure the Immeasurable
  24. Louis le Brocquy - The Táin - Lion