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Jack B. Yeats KERRY FISHERMAN - FENIT LIGHTHOUSE (1927)
Lot 12
Price Realised: €100,000
Estimate: €100,000 - €150,000
Jack Butler Yeats RHA, Irish, 1871-1957 FENIT LIGHTHOUSE, CO KERRY - KERRY FISHERMAN (1927) Oil on panel,  9" x 14" (22.8 x 35.6cm), signed. Fenit Lighthouse in Kerry was built on Samphire Island in the 1850s. A view towards Dingle is i... Read more
Jack Butler Yeats RHA, Irish, 1871-1957 FENIT LIGHTHOUSE, CO KERRY - KERRY FISHERMAN (1927) Oil on panel,  9" x 14" (22.8 x 35.6cm), signed. Fenit Lighthouse in Kerry was built on Samphire Island in the 1850s. A view towards Dingle is in the background. We are grateful to Professor Mary McAuliffe of U.C.D for assistance in cataloguing this work. Provenance: Purchased from the artist by Herr E. Hempel, 1940; Purchased by I.M. Esses, Toronto in the 1960's and by descent; Sothebys, September 2020, lot 36 (catalogue note below). Literature:  Hilary Pyle, Jack B Yeats, A Catalogue Raisonne of the Oil Paintings, Andre Deutsch, 1992, Vol.1, no. 339, p.308. Exhibited: Dublin, Engineers Hall, Paintings, 25 February - 5 Marc 1927, no. 22; Birmingham, Ruskin Gallery, Paintings of Ireland, 23 May - 4 June 1927, no. 16; London Tooth, Paintings, 14 March - 5 April 1928, no. 33. The present work depicts a local fisherman whose strong features and confident stance offer a heroic figure, typical of Yeats' depiction of sea-faring men. Staring to the distance and wrapped in a heavy overcoat, he fills the composition while behind him is the coast of Kerry, the waters of which he would know intimately through years on the sea. Immediately below him boats are moored with a fellow fisherman attending them - the flash of silvery blues suggesting they are unloading their catch.   Since his childhood growing up among the quays of Sligo, Yeats developed a wonder and admiration for seafaring figures - in line with his lifelong occupation with distinct characters on the fringes of society who populate many of his works. The present painting dates to the late 1920s. Yeats had painted Kerry before, but these earlier works focus solely on the coastline and are devoid of figures, such as Kerry Landscape (private collection, sold Adam's, Dublin, 28 September 2016, lot 10). By the 1920s, local figures, often solitary, appear in Yeats' oils. The present work is a characteristic example and executed when Yeats' style remained relatively realist with the figures delineated, giving them an emphatic presence. However, by the end of the decade his brushwork was loosening, forms were dissolving and colour was more freely applied. We see the onset of such developments in the present work which has a fluid, painterly surface anticipating the unique style of Yeats' later work. By that stage, the sea and sea-faring figures persist but in a more abstract way, and the sea itself often serves a metaphysical purpose.
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