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LOT :95
JACK BUTLER YEATS RHA (1871-1957) The Unforgetting Background (1949) Oil on board, 35.5 x 46cms (14 x 18'') Signed Provenance: Purchased by Mrs Gladys O'Connell at the 1949 Exhibition; Sold in these rooms 11/04/1973 cat. no. 22; Private collection Dublin Exhibited: Jack B. Yeats Exhibition, The Victor Waddington Gallery, Dublin, 1949, cat. no.19 Literature: Jack B. Yeats - A Catalogue Raisonn? of the Oil Paintings, vol II no.1009, p913, illustrated full page vol III p513 Hilary Pyle has identified the setting of this painting as Sligo Bay, a location that Yeats also used in two related works And Grania saw the Sun Sink, 1950 and Queen Meave Walked Upon this Strand, (1950, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art). In these paintings Yeats draws on the mythology associated with Sligo, particularly the legend of Grania and Diarmuid and the T?in, whose protagonist Queen Meave is believed to be buried on Knocknarea overlooking the beach at Strandhill in Sligo Bay. The female figure in the Unforgetting Background stands in this evocative setting. Her long red hair and flowing white dress suggest her mythical significance. Her hands are drawn up to her face in a dramatic gesture. With her back to the sea and sky she seems to be deliberately ignoring the sights and sounds of her surroundings and retreating into the interior world of her own thoughts and memories. This melodramatic pose is remarkably similar to that of the figure of Grania in Yeats's painting The Death of Diarmuid, the last handful of water, (1945, Tate). In the Tate work Grania's gesture expresses her grief at the death of her lover Diarmuid whom Fionn MacCumhal refuses to save by letting magical healing water run through his fingers. The tale of Diarmuid and Grania was well known to the Yeats siblings and was the subject of a 1901 play by George Moore and W.B. Yeats. The boar hunt which resulted in the mortal wounding of Diarmuid and the undoing of the lovers took place on Ben Bulben within sight of Sligo Bay. In Unforgetting Background the rich interweaving of yellows, red, blues and greens of the landscape outdo the figure in terms of dramatic impact. The woman is a foil to the timelessness of nature and especially that of Sligo and the West coast of Ireland where sea and sky and land mingle to create an almost primordial world in which humanity has only a temporary significance. This is further suggested by the way the pale colours of the figure reflect her more colourful surroundings and give her a ghostly translucent appearance. Dr. R?is?n Kennedy October 2011
Estimate EUR : €120,000.00 - €180,000.00
Auction Date : 05-12-2011

Description

JACK BUTLER YEATS RHA (1871-1957) The Unforgetting Background (1949) Oil on board, 35.5 x 46cms (14 x 18'') Signed Provenance: Purchased by Mrs Gladys O'Connell at the 1949 Exhibition; Sold in these rooms 11/04/1973 cat. no. 22; Private collection Dublin Exhibited: Jack B. Yeats Exhibition, The Victor Waddington Gallery, Dublin, 1949, cat. no.19 Literature: Jack B. Yeats - A Catalogue Raisonn? of the Oil Paintings, vol II no.1009, p913, illustrated full page vol III p513 Hilary Pyle has identified the setting of this painting as Sligo Bay, a location that Yeats also used in two related works And Grania saw the Sun Sink, 1950 and Queen Meave Walked Upon this Strand, (1950, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art). In these paintings Yeats draws on the mythology associated with Sligo, particularly the legend of Grania and Diarmuid and the T?in, whose protagonist Queen Meave is believed to be buried on Knocknarea overlooking the beach at Strandhill in Sligo Bay. The female figure in the Unforgetting Background stands in this evocative setting. Her long red hair and flowing white dress suggest her mythical significance. Her hands are drawn up to her face in a dramatic gesture. With her back to the sea and sky she seems to be deliberately ignoring the sights and sounds of her surroundings and retreating into the interior world of her own thoughts and memories. This melodramatic pose is remarkably similar to that of the figure of Grania in Yeats's painting The Death of Diarmuid, the last handful of water, (1945, Tate). In the Tate work Grania's gesture expresses her grief at the death of her lover Diarmuid whom Fionn MacCumhal refuses to save by letting magical healing water run through his fingers. The tale of Diarmuid and Grania was well known to the Yeats siblings and was the subject of a 1901 play by George Moore and W.B. Yeats. The boar hunt which resulted in the mortal wounding of Diarmuid and the undoing of the lovers took place on Ben Bulben within sight of Sligo Bay. In Unforgetting Background the rich interweaving of yellows, red, blues and greens of the landscape outdo the figure in terms of dramatic impact. The woman is a foil to the timelessness of nature and especially that of Sligo and the West coast of Ireland where sea and sky and land mingle to create an almost primordial world in which humanity has only a temporary significance. This is further suggested by the way the pale colours of the figure reflect her more colourful surroundings and give her a ghostly translucent appearance. Dr. R?is?n Kennedy October 2011

Hammer Price : €130,000.00
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