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Jack Butler Yeats, R.H.A. (1871-1957)
Jack Butler Yeats, R.H.A. (1871-1957)

A Man Doing Accounts

Jack Butler Yeats, R.H.A. (1871-1957)
A Man Doing Accounts
signed 'JACK B. YEATS' (lower right), signed again and inscribed 'MAN DOING ACCOUNTS/JACK B YEATS' (on the reverse), inscribed again 'MAN DOING ACCOUNTS' (inside the stretcher)
oil on canvas
18 x 24 in. (45.7 x 61 cm.)
Painted in 1929.
Purchased direct from the artist by Colonel Clive Morris, 1947.
with Redfern Gallery, London.
Purchased by the previous owner in 1951.
Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 10 May 2007, lot 97.
H. Pyle, A Catalogue Raisonné of the Oil Paintings Volume I, London, 1992, p. 362, no. 398.
London, Alpine Club Gallery, Jack B Yeats Paintings, February 1929, no. 26.
Dublin, Engineers' Hall, Jack B Yeats Paintings, October 1929, no. 9.
Chicago, World Fair, 1933.
Leeds, Temple Newsam House, Jack B Yeats Loan Exhibition, June - August 1948, no. 13.

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André Zlattinger
André Zlattinger

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Lot Essay

Jack Butler Yeats came from an impoverished family, and yet under the care of his maternal grandparents, he lived, in contrast to his siblings at home, a rather affluent childhood. In his adult life he similarly had contradictory experiences with money. Although failing to sell oil paintings, which he deemed as a personal failure, he was able to live, with his wife's inheritance, a comfortable existence. It is therefore interesting to look at the subject of this painting, a man looking at his finances. The figure is seen confined in a brightly lit room, while another outside stands next to him. The artifical light contrasts with the evening outside. The dark silhouettes of buildings loom in the composition, creating a similar claustrophic feeling as the figure is hemmed into the walled space on the right. Light and dark, natural and artifical, both figures although so close remain apart, lost in their own separate worlds, divided by space and light.

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