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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)-Singing “The beautiful Picture“
  2. Marie Foley (b. 1959) - To Measure the Immeasurable
  3. Sean Keating (1889-1977)- Head of a Boy
  4. Norah McGuinness - Tide Receding, Dublin Bay
  5. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Susan Mary (Lily) Yeats as a child
  6. James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) - Maunder’s Fishshop, Chelsea
  7. Louis le Brocquy - The Táin - Cúchulainn mounting into his chariot
  8. Percy French (1854 - 1920) - A view of Sligo Quay
  9. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957) - An Island Man
  10. Maurice MacGonigal, PRHA (1900 - 1979) - The Gathering
  11. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Bay Pilot, The River Pilot, The Stevedore, The Ganger and the Gang
  12. Patrick Scott (b. 1921) - Bog Sun (16)
  13. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Portrait Figure of an Irish Gentleman
  14. Sean McSweeney - The Road
  15. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - Singing The Minstrel Boy
  16. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)-A Western Town, Night
  17. Estella Solomons - Portrait of Jack B. Yeats
  18. Sean Keating (1889-1977)- Old Kitty
  19. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) Portrait of Susan Mary (Lily) Yeats
  20. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Sea and the Lighthouse
  21. Norah McGuinness (1903 - 1980) - Hanrahan’s Vision (Illustrations for The Stories of Red Hanrahan)
  22. George William Russell(AE) (1867-1935) - The Sower
  23. Nick Miller - John McGahern
  24. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- A Political Meeting (in the West Of Ireland)