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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)- Simon the Cyrenian
  2. Kathy Prendergast (b.1958) - Untitled
  3. George William Russell (AE) (1867-1935) - Portrait of Kitsy Franklin
  4. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Portrait Figure of an Irish Gentleman
  5. Patrick Scott (b. 1921) - Bog Sun (16)
  6. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Strand Races, West Of Ireland
  7. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957) - An Island Man
  8. George William Russell (AE) (1867-1935) - Shining Shallows
  9. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - The Toy Theatre
  10. Estella Solomons - Portrait of a Woman
  11. Patrick Hall - Jesus Walking on the Sea
  12. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - Communicating with Prisoners
  13. Sean Keating PRHA (1889 - 1979) - Turf-Gatherer
  14. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- He wins
  15. Maurice MacGonigal, PRHA (1900 - 1979) - Country Scene
  16. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - Singing The Minstrel Boy
  17. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Metal Man
  18. Patrick Hall - Angels Ascending and Descending with Heavenly Spectators
  19. Jack B. Yeats - Crest of the Hill
  20. George William Russell (AE) (1867-1935) - Portrait of Mary Colum
  21. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Shruna Meala, Rosses Point
  22. Constance Gore-Booth (1868 - 1927) - Untitled (Holloway Jail)
  23. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Susan Mitchell
  24. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Self Portrait