Dimensions: 60 × 44.5cm
Medium: Oil on canvas
Collection: Niland Collection
Provenance: Presented by James A. Healy in New York to Sligo County Library and Museum. In memory of his parents, John and Catherine Healy, 1965.
Painted in the artist’s late expressionistic style in which Yeats was just beginning to work, the painting conveys his powers of observation and insight into human nature. Two young women sit beneath a thorn tree, while a horseman stops to greet them. Behind the figures to the right, a squalling shower painted in yellow and cream, obscures the blue summer sky.
The women’s reaction to the passerby is subtly delineated. The dark haired woman looks directly at the man while her companion, with downcast eyes, appears to be shy. The thorn tree is used as a dramatic device which connects the two very different halves of the composition. On the right the women are seated on a grassy bank with a lush landscape extending behind them that suggests a feminine domain. The left hand side with the man and horse on the stony roadway silhouetted against a blue sky is much more austere and masculine. At a more basic level the painting refers to the constantly changing weather of the West of Ireland and of the companionship of the open road where people stop to chat and greet each other.
Written by Roisin Kennedy