2017-11-22-2019-01-16 --- 2019-01-16 16:18:15--18
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LOT :49
Jack Butler Yeats RHA (1871-1957)
Estimate EUR : €300,000.00 - €500,000.00
Auction Date : 22-11-2017


Jack Butler Yeats RHA (1871-1957)

By Merrion Strand (1929)

Oil on canvas, 35.5 x 53cm (14 x 21'')


Provenance: From the collection of Richard McGonigal SC who purchased it at The Contemporary Picture Galleries, 1940; Later in the collection of Aer Lingus, purchased circa 1965 and their sale, Dublin, November 2001, where purchased by current owners.


Exhibited: Jack B. Yeats, The Alpine Club Gallery, London, February 1929, Cat. No. 15; Jack B. Yeats, Engineers Hall, Dublin, October 1929, Cat. No. 13; Jack B. Yeats, Contemporary Picture Galleries, Dublin, October - November 1940, Cat. No. 6; Jack B. Yeats National Loan Exhibition, NCAD Dublin June - July 1945, Cat. No. 70; Jack B. Yeats, Waddington Galleries, London, February - March 1965, Cat. No. 7; Irish Art 1900 - 1950, ROSC Chorcaí, The Crawford Gallery, Cork, December 1975 - January 1976, Cat. No. 155; Jack B. Yeats, Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery, Dublin, June - October 1988, Cat. No. 60 (Label verso); Art Inc Exhibition of Art from Corporate Collections, Cothú Guinness Hop Store, Dublin, April - May 1991, Cat. No. 6.


By Merrion Strand is a wonderfully freshly coloured work painted in the late 1920s in the period in which Jack Yeats was moving into his later more expressionist style of painting. It depicts a young woman standing at a stall with a view of Dublin bay behind her. The purple of the Wicklow mountains, possibly the Sugar Loaf, can be deciphered beyond her left shoulder. On her right another woman sits on a wooden deck-chair with a large bouquet of flowers in her arms. The two figures are women who have come to sell flowers and fruit to the pleasure seekers and holiday makers who flocked to beach at this time. The outline of several of these day trippers can be deciphered on the sand and in the waters behind. Some stride across the blue of the sea, a reference to the nature of the current at Merrion strand which is notable for its expanses of shallow waters at low tide.


The subject of working class women recurs in many of Yeatss paintings of the 1920s revealing both a sentimental and sympathetic interest in them. Among the most notable are Paper Bags for Hats (1925, Private Collection) and Flower Girl, Dublin (1926, National Gallery of Ireland). Like By Merrion Strand these bring some of the most impoverished and overlooked citizens of Dublin into focus. The composition of the woman silhouetted against the sea and sky is also very similar to that of By Drumcliffe, Long Ago, (1923, Private Collection), a work that is based on a memory of County Sligo.


The pale blues and touches of white and yellow in the work produce the effect of sunlight on a bright summers day. The white of the central figures arms and neck compared to the darker tones of her face subtly suggest the demarcation of her tan line. This intimates that this is one of the first hot days of the year. As in Yeatss other late work the loose application of paint evokes movement of light, air and the figures most notably in the stall holder herself whose head is turned to look back towards the viewers space.


The painting was included in an important one-man exhibition of Yeatss work in 1940, the first solo exhibition of his work at the Contemporary Picture Galleries in Dublin. It was bought at this show by Richard MacGonigal, a notable collector of his work. The exhibition encouraged the development of Yeatss reputation as one of Irelands foremost modern artists leading to his adoption by Victor Waddington during the war years, in whose gallery Yeatss status continued to flourish.


Dr. Róisín Kennedy



Hammer Price : €450,000.00
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