The Graveyard Wall

Jack B. Yeats (1871 – 1957)

  • Artist
    Jack B. Yeats
  • Title
    The Graveyard Wall
  • Date
  • Dimensions
    61 × 46cm
  • Medium
    Oil on canvas
  • Collection
    Niland Collection
  • Provenance
    Presented by James A. Healy in New York to Sligo County Library and Museum. In memory of his parents, John and Catherine Healy in 1966.

A number of Yeats’s paintings of the 1940s depict old men. The artist, then in his seventies, was becoming conscious of his own mortality and of the predicament of old age. In this work an old man strides along a country road. Behind him an elderly companion shelters against a stone wall trying to light his pipe. The crooked tombstones of a rural graveyard, visible on the rising ground behind the wall, are a reminder of what is to come. The potential morbidity of the image is alleviated by the almost comical swaggering form of the central figure as he strides onwards. The sparse landscape setting in which the nomadic men exist, moving endlessly onwards is immediately reminiscent of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. Beckett who knew Yeats and admired his work shared a similar sense of the absurd and was influenced by the older man’s depictions of the tenacity of the human spirit.

Written by Roisin Kennedy

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  1. Jack B. Yeats - Crest of the Hill
  2. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Johnny Paterson singing ’Bridget Donoghue’
  3. Patrick Scott (b. 1921) - Bog Sun (16)
  4. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Car is at the door
  5. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Leaving the Far Point
  6. Kathy Prendergast (b.1958) - Untitled
  7. Nick Miller - John McGahern
  8. Percy French (1854 - 1920) - A view of Sligo Quay
  9. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - The Stargazer
  10. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957) - An Island Man
  11. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Susan Mary (Lily) Yeats as a child
  12. Norah McGuinness - Les Bigoudenes
  13. Sean McSweeney - The Road
  14. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Douglas Hyde
  15. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Mountain window
  16. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)-A Western Town, Night
  17. Estella Solomons - Portrait of Sean Milroy
  18. Marie Foley (b. 1959) - Portrait
  19. Sir William Orpen RHA, RA AWS (1878-1931) - Portrait of Michael Davitt
  20. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Market Day
  21. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Self Portrait
  22. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Simon the Cyrenian
  23. Jack B. Yeats - White Shower
  24. Rita Duffy (b.1959) - Belfast Pieta