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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) - Communicating with Prisoners
  2. Kathy Prendergast (b.1958) - Untitled
  3. Estella Solomons - Woman in Riding Habit
  4. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Sailor home from the sea
  5. Jack B. Yeats - White Shower
  6. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Strand Races, West Of Ireland
  7. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Fortune and her wheel
  8. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Mountain window
  9. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957) - An Island Man
  10. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)-A Western Town, Night
  11. Sean Keating (1889-1977)- Old Kitty
  12. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) Portrait of Susan Mary (Lily) Yeats
  13. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Untitled, the interior of a shop
  14. Sean Keating (1889-1977)- Head of a Boy
  15. Sean Keating PRHA (1889 - 1979) - Self Portrait
  16. James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) - Maunder’s Fishshop, Chelsea
  17. George William Russell (AE) (1867-1935) - Portrait of Kitsy Franklin
  18. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Shruna Meala, Rosses Point
  19. Nick Miller - John McGahern
  20. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Portrait Figure of an Irish Gentleman
  21. George William Russell (AE) (1867-1935) - Shining Shallows
  22. Sir William Orpen RHA, RA AWS (1878-1931) - Portrait of Michael Davitt
  23. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of John O’Leary
  24. Patrick Scott (b. 1921) - Bog Sun (16)