Dimensions: 45 × 34.5cm
Medium: Oil on canvas
Collection: Niland Collection
Provenance: Presented by the artist to Sligo Corporation in 1954.
Jack Yeats gave this painting to his wife Cottie on her birthday in 1947. She died two months later. It shows Yeats, Cottie and his favourite uncle, George Pollexfen, walking at Rosses Point, on the north side of Sligo bay. The image is probably based on an imagined occasion. It is therefore a conglomeration of memories in which Yeats brings together two of the most influential people in his life. In the painting the figures are almost subsumed into the surrounding sea and sky, their forms tenuously delineated in paint, in a manner analogous to the vagaries of memory itself. Cottie and George are placed with Yeats in a favourite and cherished location. George Pollexfen had a summer house at Rosses Point where Jack visited him as a young man. The death of George in 1910 severed the familial connection with Sligo and was, like the death of Cottie nearly forty years later, an important psychological event in the artist’s life. At the end of his own life Yeats gave the painting to Sligo and wrote in his accompanying letter to the Mayor of Sligo that ‘From the beginning of my painting life every painting which I have made has somewhere in it a thought of Sligo’.
Written by Roisin Kennedy