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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. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)-A Western Town, Night
  2. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- He wins
  3. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Car is at the door
  4. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - The Toy Theatre
  5. Louis le Brocquy - The Táin - Mare and Foals
  6. Louis le Brocquy - Hell Fire Club from Tibradden
  7. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Funeral of Harry Boland
  8. Nick Miller - Portrait of Barrie Cooke
  9. Patrick Hall - Angels Ascending and Descending with Heavenly Spectators
  10. Louis le Brocquy - The Táin - Lion
  11. Nick Miller - John McGahern
  12. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Johnny Paterson singing ’Bridget Donoghue’
  13. Sean Keating PRHA (1889 - 1979) - Self Portrait
  14. James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) - Maunder’s Fishshop, Chelsea
  15. Louis le Brocquy - The Táin - Cúchulainn mounting into his chariot
  16. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957) - An Island Man
  17. Henri Fantin-Latour (1836-1904) - Wood Nymph
  18. Estella Solomons - Portrait of Jack B. Yeats
  19. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Shruna Meala, Rosses Point
  20. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Simon the Cyrenian
  21. Norah McGuinness - Tide Receding, Dublin Bay
  22. Louis le Brocquy - Study towards an Image of W.B. Yeats
  23. Marie Foley (b. 1959) - The Great Breath
  24. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Mountain window