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

Browse the Collection

Browse by: Image / List

  1. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Cartoon for Figure of Christ
  2. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Mountain window
  3. Louis le Brocquy - The Táin - Cúchulainn mounting into his chariot
  4. Estella Solomons - Woman in Riding Habit
  5. George William Russell (AE) (1867-1935) - Shining Shallows
  6. Nick Miller - Portrait of Barrie Cooke
  7. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - Singing The Minstrel Boy
  8. Sean Keating PRHA (1889 - 1979) - William and Mary
  9. Artist Unknown - Portrait of a Girl
  10. Henri Fantin-Latour (1836-1904) - Wood Nymph
  11. Patrick Scott (b. 1921) - Bog Sun (16)
  12. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- He wins
  13. Nick Miller - John McGahern
  14. Rita Duffy (b.1959) -Seige ||
  15. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Simon the Cyrenian
  16. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Portrait Figure of an Irish Gentleman
  17. George William Russell (AE) (1867-1935) - Portrait of Mary Colum
  18. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Douglas Hyde
  19. Louis le Brocquy - Study towards an Image of W.B. Yeats
  20. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)-Singing “The beautiful Picture“
  21. Maurice MacGonigal, PRHA (1900 - 1979) - Country Scene
  22. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - The Toy Theatre
  23. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Bay Pilot, The River Pilot, The Stevedore, The Ganger and the Gang
  24. Estella Solomons - Portrait of Sean Milroy