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Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Portrait Figure of an Irish Gentleman

Portrait Figure of an Irish Gentleman

Jack B. Yeats (1871 – 1957)

© Estate of Jack B Yeats. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2013

  • Artist
    Jack B. Yeats
  • Title
    Portrait Figure of an Irish Gentleman
  • Date
    c. 1900
  • Dimensions
    25.5 × 35.5cm
  • Medium
    Watercolour
  • Collection
    Niland Collection
  • Provenance
    Presented to Sligo County Library and Museum in by James A. Healy in 1965, as a memorial to his parents John and Catherine Healy.
Description

The original title of the painting has not been identified. It is probably the ‘Head and Shoulders of a Man with Landscape’ listed in the inventory of John Quinn’s collection in 1924. Hilary Pyle has compared the image of man silhouetted against a coastal landscape with one used by Yeats to illustrate A Broadsheet of February 1903. The latter was accompanied by Lady Gregory’s translation of ‘It’s my grief that I am of the race of poets’(1).

The Niland watercolour uses a blend of murky browns and strong greens in an expressive manner typical of Yeats’s early work in this medium. The painting is full of formal and thematic contrasts. The age and pensive nature of the man is contrasted by the youth and physical activity of the two swimmers in the sea behind him. The dramatic spatial gap between the figure in the foreground and the expanding coastline behind him further evokes the difference between his world of contemplative thought and the ongoing one of nature and physical life that surrounds him. It is a theme that Yeats was to develop in his later paintings for example, Many Ferries, (1948, National Gallery of Ireland) which uses a similar composition.

(1) H. Pyle, Jack B. Yeats. His Watercolours and Pastels, Irish Academic Press, 1993, p.94.

Written by Roisin Kennedy

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  1. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Untitled, the interior of a shop
  2. Norah McGuinness - Tide Receding, Dublin Bay
  3. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of John O’Leary
  4. Kathy Prendergast (b.1958) - Untitled
  5. Louis le Brocquy - The Táin - Mare and Foals
  6. George William Russell (AE) (1867-1935) - Portrait of Mary Colum
  7. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Strand Races, West Of Ireland
  8. Louis le Brocquy - Hell Fire Club from Tibradden
  9. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Susan Mitchell
  10. Percy French (1854 - 1920) - A view of Sligo Quay
  11. George William Russell (AE) (1867-1935) - Shining Shallows
  12. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - The Toy Theatre
  13. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Shruna Meala, Rosses Point
  14. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Douglas Hyde
  15. Sean Keating (1889-1977)- Old Kitty
  16. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- A Political Meeting (in the West Of Ireland)
  17. Norah McGuinness (1903 - 1980) - Hanrahan’s Vision (Illustrations for The Stories of Red Hanrahan)
  18. Sean McSweeney - The Road
  19. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - Communicating with Prisoners
  20. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Sea and the Lighthouse
  21. Sean Keating PRHA (1889 - 1979) - Turf-Gatherer
  22. Nick Miller - Portrait of Barrie Cooke
  23. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957) - An Island Man
  24. Maurice MacGonigal, PRHA (1900 - 1979) - Country Scene