Dimensions: 35.5 × 23cm
Medium: Oil on panel
Collection: Niland Collection
Provenance: Given on perpetual loan by Ria Mooney in 1970
This late oil painting recalls the strand races that Jack Yeats attended in Sligo as a youth and which formed an important theme in his early watercolour paintings of Irish life. In this work, unlike many of the early renditions, Yeats does not refer to the characters and the wider paraphernalia of such events. While a group of bystanders is visible in the background to the left, the main focus of the painting is the race itself. The horses and riders gallop at great speed across the sands. One of the horses, a large black animal, moves across to the left, racing in a slightly different direction to the others. Perhaps it is this horse, or its jockey, to which the title of the painting refers.
The low viewpoint gives an unusual vista of the race, heightening the sense of movement and capturing the speed and drama of the occasion. The strong colours of the horses and jockeys are diffused by the strong white of the sky. The technique is as dynamic and vivacious as the subject it depicts.
Written by Roisin Kennedy