Jack Butler Yeats - Jack Butler Yeats Biography, Artwork, Galleries Online | BLOUIN ARTINFO
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Occupation: Painting, Illustration, Writing
Jack Butler Yeats' Famous Artworks
“A Lift on the Long Car,” 1914
“Off the Donegal Coast,” 1922
“Morning After Rain,” 1923
“The Liffey Swim,” 1924
“A Fair Day, Mayo,” 1925
“An Old Car Driver,” 1920-30
“The Mystery Man,” 1942
“The Two Travellers,” 1942
“The Whistle of a Jacket,” 1946
“The Wild Ones,” 1947
“Man in a Room Thinking,” 1947
“A Horseman Enters a Town at Night,” 1948
“Off the Irish Coast,” 1950
“A Rose Among Many Waters,” 1952
“That We May Never Meet Again,” 1952-57
Jack Butler Yeats, the landscape painter, is often referred to as the best-known Irish artist of the 20th century. He was also a cartoonist, illustrator, painter, and writer.
Jack Butler Yeats' Early Life
Yeats, the son of portraitist John Butler Yeats and younger brother of the poet William Butler Yeats, was born in London on August 29, 1871. He was raised by his maternal grandparents in County Sligo, returning to London in 1887 to live with his parents. In the years he lived in Sligo, Yeats watched his grandmother paint watercolors and observed the environment and everyday life, including ships in the harbor, fairs, and circuses, pony carts, etc. These visuals were to remain with him and inspire some of his early works. However, Yeats only began his formal training in the art after moving to London as a 16-year-old where he studied, among other places, at the Westminster School of Art.
Jack Butler Yeats' Early Career
All the Yeats children — William, Jack, and their sister Susan — were expected to contribute to the family income; while their father was an established portrait painter, the family was not wealthy. Jack began as an illustrator, working for magazines such as “Boy’s Own Paper” and “Judy,” as well as illustrating books. In 1892, he illustrated his brother’s book, “Irish Fairy Tales.” Along with this, he earned some extra income from his literary skills, writing a column for “Punch” under the pseudonym W. Bird, and doing editing work for magazines. He also started making comics in 1893. Through the 1890s, Yeats focused mostly on his illustration work. However, he also painted during this time, particularly watercolors, and was able to make a transition to painting in the early years of the 20th century, when many illustrators suffered due to the growing popularity of photography, which often left them out of work. As early as in 1895, his watercolor “Strand Races, West of Ireland” was displayed at the Royal Hibernian Academy. In 1897, his first one-man show was held in London at the Clifford Gallery. The watercolors displayed here were all inspired by his years in Sligo, though the paintings were made in London.
Jack Butler Yeats' Painting and Ireland
Not until 1905 did Yeats start painting regularly in oils. Even then, his paintings reflected the artist’s absorption with the Irish landscape and Celtic myths and contributed to the upsurge of nationalist sentiment in the movement for Irish independence. In 1910, he took up permanent residence in Ireland. In 1913, he was invited to the Armory Show in New York City. Yeats continued his illustration work well into the 20th century, giving up on comics only in 1917 to focus on painting. Though not politically active, Yeats believed it was important for artists to engage with their environment and was sympathetic to the cause of the Irish Republicans. Yeats eventually moved to Dublin and his paintings depicted universal themes like human suffering and loneliness revealed through the lens of everyday Irish life.
Jack Butler Yeats' Other Interests
Aside from painting, Yeats continued to pursue his literary interests seriously as the writer of several essays, novels, and plays, some of which were also performed on stage. He was involved with theater in other ways too, designing sets for the Abbey Theatre. He was also the first Irishman to be awarded an Olympic medal for his painting, “The Liffey Swim,” at the 1924 Summer Olympics.
In 1942, an exhibit at the Tate in London brought considerable recognition to Yeats and helped him establish an independent identity from his famous father and brother. Another exhibition held 14 years after his death in 1971, at the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin helped reaffirm his reputation as one of the most significant Irish artists of the 20th century. He is the first Irish painter to sell a work for over £1 million.
Jack Butler Yeats' Personal Life
Yeats married Mary Cottenham White (Cottie), an Englishwoman, in 1894 in London. The couple did not have any children and moved between England and Ireland at different points in their married life. Cottie died in 1947, 10 years before her husband, who passed away in Dublin on March 28, 1957. Art lovers can buy Jack Butler Yeats's artworks online.
Jack Butler Yeats' Major Exhibitions
1899  -  Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin
1914  -  Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin
1915  -  Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin
1942  -  National Gallery, London
1945  -  National Gallery, Dublin
1945  -  Temple Newsam, Leeds
1948  -  Tate Gallery, London
1958  -  Waddington Galleries, London
2008  -  National Gallery, Dublin
2008  -  Compton Verney, Warwick
2011  -  Pallant House Gallery, Chichester
2014  -  Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin
2015  -  Royal Hibernian Academy Galleries, Dublin
2015  -  Wexford Art Centre, Wexford
Jack Butler Yeats' Museums/Collections
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh
Tate Gallery, London 
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford 
Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland
Currier Gallery of Art, New Hampshire
Dublin City Gallery, Dublin
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia 
Seattle Art Museum, Seattle
The Hunt Museum, Limerick
The National Gallery, Dublin
Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin
The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore
Model Arts and Niland Gallery, Sligo
The Municipal Art Collection, Waterford
Ulster Museum, Belfast
"Jack Yeats" by Bruce Arnold
"Jack B Yeats 1871-1957" by Brian P Kennedy
"Jack B Yeats: Drawings and Paintings" by James White
"Jack B Yeats: A Biography" by Hilary Pyle


 Old men bathing by Jack Butler Yeats

Jack Butler Yeats

Old men bathing

Whyte's, Dublin

February 26, 2018

$55,931  USD

 Winter In Galway, from Lady Gregory's House, Coole Park by Jack Butler Yeats

Jack Butler Yeats

Winter In Galway, from Lady Gregory's House, Coole

Whyte's, Dublin

February 26, 2018

$44,745  USD

 Connemara by Jack Butler Yeats

Jack Butler Yeats


Morgan O'Driscoll, Cork

December 4, 2017

$4,251  USD


Irish & International Art at Whyte's, Munich

By BLOUIN ARTINFO | February 8, 2018