Jack Butler Yeats RHA

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Artist Bio

Jack Butler Yeats RHA

Jack B. Yeats was a figure painter and illustrator born in London just four years after his father John Butler Yeats had decided to become an artist. According to Yeats, ‘A picture does not need translation, a creative work happens. It does not need documentary evidence, dates, photographs of the artist, or what he may think about his painters. It doesn’t matter who or what I am, people may think what they will of the pictures.’

Yeats strived for his paintings to be lively and so many of his subjects were action situations, enabling him to be creative and fill his work with interest. These wide range of interests can be seen in works such as The Auction Mart, Brixham Regatta and The Runaway Horse.

In 1898, Jack began to investigate with oils and then he later returned to Co. Wicklow where his work continued to vary. Through difficult times, many artists found it difficult to depict Irish scenes. Yeats had no difficulty and continued to work at what he was good at.

In one of the most thorough biographies of the artist, Bruce Arnold wrote, ‘Jack Yeats stands as an isolated, giant figure in Irish twentieth-century art. He dominated solely through the talent, magic and inventiveness of his painting. He was a man of calm, self-effacing disposition, witty, elusive, kind, generous, enigmatic. He had an innate originality’. 

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