CAG.63 Jack B. Yeats, In Capel Street, Dublin, 1923, oil on board, 23.4 x 36 cm. Purchased, the Artist, 1924 (Gibson Bequest Fund). © the artist’s estate.
We’re celebrating Jack B. Yeats’ birthday with this WORK OF THE WEEK!
Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957) was born in London on this day – 29 August – in 1871, but grew up in the home of his grandparents in County Sligo. A younger sibling of poet William, embroiderer Susan, and artist/publisher Elizabeth, he initially worked as an illustrator before turning increasingly to oil painting from 1906 onwards.
The artist’s little painting, In Capel Street, Dublin (1923), was made at a key point in Ireland’s history, with the Irish Free State in its infancy and still recovering from war. In it, Yeats deploys a social awareness in his depiction of a young flower-seller nursing her baby in a doorway. Juxtaposing poverty and prosperity, the closed door of a sweetshop behind her suggests that she is excluded from the benefits of progress in the newly independent State. In hindsight, it has perhaps taken on an unexpected prescience.
Did you know: Jack B. Yeats was awarded a silver medal for painting at the 1924 Paris Olympics, the year in which In Capel Street, Dublin was purchased for the collection through the Gibson Bequest Fund.
In Capel Street, Dublin (1923) by Jack B. Yeats features in AS THEY MUST HAVE BEEN: Men of the South, 1922-2022 until 25 September.
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