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WORK OF THE WEEK | 25 February 2019

CAG.72 Jack B. Yeats, Off the Donegal Coast, 1922, oil on canvas, 60.5 x 90.7 cm. Purchased, 1924 (Gibson Bequest Fund). © the artist's estate.

Spring is in the air and we’re feeling the urge to be outdoors. So, let’s take a closer look at an all-time favourite from our collection.

Coming from one of Ireland’s most noted creative families, Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957) requires very little introduction. The artist grew up in the home of his grandparents in Sligo, a part of the country he would be drawn to for the rest of his life.

Off the Donegal Coast (1922) depicts a sea rescue in progress, as a man reaches up to catch a lifeline from a larger vessel, the railing of which is visible along the left side. The painting combines a dynamic viewpoint and diagonal composition to suggest the peril in which the fishermen find themselves, while the power of the wild Atlantic is described through energetic brushstrokes and a dark colour palette. Interestingly, this painting has a strong relationship with an illustration by Yeats – “A Four-Oared Curagh” – for J.M. Synge’s The Aran Islands (1907).

We acquired this painting in 1924, the same year the artist won a silver medal at the Paris Olympics. He achieved this accolade with his painting, The Liffey Swim (National Gallery of Ireland), and placed between artists Jean Jacoby (Luxembourg) and Johan van Hell (The Netherlands).

Off the Donegal Coast (1922) by Jack B. Yeats is featured in HEROES & VILLAINS.

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