dinsdag, maart 17, 2015

Jack Butler Yeats #2

Jack Butler Yeats, studio archive collection, oil paints, watercolour, boxes, brushes, etc.

Provenance:The Estate of Jack Butler Yeats; Bequeathed to his niece Anne Yeats (1919-2001); Her Estate; Private collection

"A unique and important collection of paints, brushes, palette knives and related items from the studio of Ireland’s greatest artist of the 20th century. Bequeathed to this niece the painter Anne Yeats these artefacts are of universal interest to scholars and collectors alike. Sold in a clearance sale of Anne Yeats’ studio prior to the auction of her estate. Also included are some printed Christmas cards designed by Jack Yeats, his business cards, manuscript notes on the composition of a painting and a lunch menu, his address book, his cheque book for 1946 and related ephemera, as well as important documents relating to his estate as provenance for this lot.

When Jack Yeats died in 1957 he left the contents of this studio to his niece, the artist Anne Yeats. Anne carefully catalogued and managed her uncle’s sketchbooks, library, correspondence and belongings until she presented the bulk of the material to the National Gallery of Ireland in 1996, where it now forms the core of the Yeats Archive. The current lot contains the vestiges of Jack Yeats’ studio. It includes the contents of Jack Yeats’ paint-box, as listed by Anne, several palettes and a number of paint boxes which belonged to the artist. The paint is manufactured by Windsor and Newton, a favourite source of art material throughout Yeats’ long career. (There is a Windsor and Newton catalogue in the archive at the National Gallery). As Yeats was almost secretive about his working methods these items provide an intriguing insight into the very private world of his studio. Other interesting items in this collection include one of Yeats’ address books which lists many of his close friends and contacts such as Padraic and Mary Colum in New York, the writer and critic Patrick Kavanagh and the English artist John Piper. A chequebook covering late 1945 to 1947 reveals the ongoing expenditure in Yeats’ domestic life while prescriptions issued at Portobello House in 1957, the nursing home where the artist spent his final years, offer another poignant insight into his later years. The material also features a quantity of blank Christmas and New Year cards, designed and privately printed by Yeats in the early 1950s. One, inscribed from ‘Jack B. Yeats – To Wish you a Very Happy Christmas’, depicts a headless scarecrow, pushing a wheelbarrow and courteously doffing his hat as he passes by. The scarecrow appears in a second card, uncatalogued by Hilary Pyle, again doffing his hat beneath a flying broomstick. A design for a New Year card shows a flying horse and the scarecrow soaring through the air in a wheelbarrow. The scarecrow carries a heavy bag containing the incoming baby New Year. Yeats used a Pegasus or flying horse in a book plate designed for Eileen and Fred Reid in 1953, at the same time as he made these cards. The artist would have been aware of the rich mythological significance of the Pegasus, a divine creature which is transformed into a heavenly constellation, and which is closely associated with the muses and particularly poetry. Yeats in his New Year card uses the horse to symbolise the metaphysical changes that time produces as he himself contemplated his own mortality. He told Eileen Reid that ‘All horses had wings – and now their wings are taking them away from us’." (bron: Icollector)

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