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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. Marie Foley (b. 1959) - Portrait
  2. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)-Red Hanrahan’s Vision
  3. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Leaving the Far Point
  4. Louis le Brocquy - Hell Fire Club from Tibradden
  5. Norah McGuinness - Les Bigoudenes
  6. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Car is at the door
  7. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Funeral of Harry Boland
  8. Louis le Brocquy - The Táin - Mare and Foals
  9. George William Russell(AE) (1867-1935) - The Sower
  10. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- A Political Meeting (in the West Of Ireland)
  11. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957) - An Island Man
  12. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) Portrait of Susan Mary (Lily) Yeats
  13. Louis le Brocquy - The Táin - Lion
  14. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Johnny Paterson singing ’Bridget Donoghue’
  15. Nick Miller - John McGahern
  16. Estella Solomons - Portrait of a Woman
  17. George William Russell(AE) (1867-1935) - Landscape with Woman and Children
  18. George William Russell (AE) (1867-1935) - Portrait of Kitsy Franklin
  19. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Metal Man
  20. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Portrait Figure of an Irish Gentleman
  21. Louis le Brocquy - The Táin - Cúchulainn mounting into his chariot
  22. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Douglas Hyde
  23. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - The Stargazer
  24. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Susan Mary (Lily) Yeats as a child