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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. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Douglas Hyde
  2. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - Communicating with Prisoners
  3. Norah McGuinness - Tide Receding, Dublin Bay
  4. Maurice MacGonigal, PRHA (1900 - 1979)- Port Rachrainn
  5. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Funeral of Harry Boland
  6. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Shruna Meala, Rosses Point
  7. Louis le Brocquy - Hell Fire Club from Tibradden
  8. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Augusta Gregory
  9. Patrick Scott (b. 1921) - Bog Sun (16)
  10. Jack B. Yeats - White Shower
  11. Estella Solomons - Woman in Riding Habit
  12. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Market Day
  13. Rita Duffy (b.1959) -Seige ||
  14. Maurice MacGonigal, PRHA (1900 - 1979) - The Gathering
  15. Henri Fantin-Latour (1836-1904) - Wood Nymph
  16. Constance Gore-Booth (1868-1927) - Untitled
  17. Artist Unknown - Portrait of a Girl
  18. Rita Duffy (b.1959) - Belfast Pieta
  19. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Leaving the Far Point
  20. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Self Portrait
  21. Nick Miller - Portrait of Barrie Cooke
  22. Sean Keating PRHA (1889 - 1979) - Turf-Gatherer
  23. James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) - Maunder’s Fishshop, Chelsea
  24. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Mountain window