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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 Jennie Mitchell
  2. Maurice MacGonigal, PRHA (1900 - 1979)- Port Rachrainn
  3. George William Russell (AE) (1867-1935) - Portrait of Kitsy Franklin
  4. Sean McSweeney - The Road
  5. Louis le Brocquy - The Táin - Cúchulainn mounting into his chariot
  6. James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) - Maunder’s Fishshop, Chelsea
  7. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Market Day
  8. Norah McGuinness - Les Bigoudenes
  9. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)-G’Morrow Strawberry
  10. Sean Keating PRHA (1889 - 1979) - Turf-Gatherer
  11. Marie Foley (b. 1959) - Portrait
  12. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Susan Mary (Lily) Yeats as a child
  13. Constance Gore-Booth (1868-1927) - Untitled
  14. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Leaving the Far Point
  15. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- He wins
  16. Rita Duffy (b.1959) - Belfast Pieta
  17. George William Russell(AE) (1867-1935) - Landscape with Woman and Children
  18. Percy French (1854 - 1920) - A view of Sligo Quay
  19. Patrick Hall - Jesus Walking on the Sea
  20. Rita Duffy (b.1959) -Seige ||
  21. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Bay Pilot, The River Pilot, The Stevedore, The Ganger and the Gang
  22. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Douglas Hyde
  23. Maurice MacGonigal, PRHA (1900 - 1979) - The Gathering
  24. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Cartoon for Figure of Christ