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Jack Butler Yeats, R.H.A. (1871-1957)
Jack Butler Yeats, R.H.A. (1871-1957)
Jack Butler Yeats, R.H.A. (1871-1957)
Jack Butler Yeats, R.H.A. (1871-1957)
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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more THE B.J. EASTWOOD COLLECTION: IMPORTANT SPORTING AND IRISH ART
Jack Butler Yeats, R.H.A. (1871-1957)

A Summer Day

Details
Jack Butler Yeats, R.H.A. (1871-1957)
A Summer Day
signed 'JACK. B. YEATS' (lower right), inscribed '"A SUMMER DAY"' (on the reverse), inscribed again 'A SUMMER DAY' (on the inside of the stretcher), inscribed again 'A SUMMER DAY' four times (on each turnover edge)
oil on canvas
24 x 36 in. (61 x 91.4 cm.)
Painted in 1914.
Provenance
Mr and Mrs Armitage, September 1947.
Mrs C. Lawson-Tancred.
Her sale; Sotheby's, London, 20 July 1966, lot 112, where purchased by Victor Waddington, London.
Mr and Mrs Walter Bick, Toronto, 1971.
with Waddington Galleries, London, where purchased by Mervyn and Pat Solomon, March 1978.
Anonymous sale; Christie's, Castletown House, 29 May 1980, lot 115.
Acquired by B.J. Eastwood in September 1988.
Literature
Exhibition catalogue, Jack B. Yeats: Oil Paintings, London, Victor Waddington, 1967, n.p., no. 2, illustrated.
Exhibition catalogue, Jack B. Yeats: Retrospective Exhibition, Montreal, Waddington Fine Arts, 1969, no. 2, illustrated.
H. Pyle, Jack B. Yeats: A Biography, London, 1970, pp. 117, 129.
Exhibition catalogue, Jack B. Yeats: Paintings, Toronto, University of Toronto, Hart House Gallery, 1971, no. 2, illustrated.
Exhibition catalogue, Jack B. Yeats: A Centenary Exhibition, Dublin, National Gallery of Ireland, 1971, pp. 53, 148, no. 37, illustrated.
J. White, Jack B Yeats: Drawings and Paintings, London, 1971, pp. 53, 148, no. 37, illustrated.
Exhibition catalogue, Jack Butler Yeats: Paintings, London, Victor Waddington, 1975, n.p., no. 1, illustrated.
Exhibition catalogue, Jack B. Yeats: Oil Paintings, London, Theo Waddington, 1978, n.p., no. 2, illustrated.
H. Pyle, Jack B. Yeats: A Catalogue Raisonné of the Oil Paintings, Vol. I, London, 1992, p. 79, no. 92, illustrated.
H. Pyle, Jack B. Yeats: A Catalogue Raisonné of the Oil Paintings, Vol. III, London, 1992, p. 38, no. 92, illustrated.
Exhibited
London, Walker Art Gallery, Pictures of Life in the West of Ireland, June - July 1914, no. 39.
Dublin, Royal Hibernian Academy, Exhibition for Belgian Relief Fund, 1915, no. 177.
London, Grafton Galleries, Allied Artists' Association 11th Salon, July 1919, exhibition not numbered.
London, Victor Waddington, Jack B. Yeats: Oil Paintings, September - October 1967, no. 2.
Montreal, Waddington Fine Arts, Jack B. Yeats: Retrospective Exhibition, March - April 1969, no. 2.
Toronto, University of Toronto, Hart House Gallery, Jack B. Yeats: Paintings, February 1971, no. 2.
Dublin, National Gallery of Ireland, Jack B. Yeats: A Centenary Exhibition, September - December 1971, no. 37: this exhibition travelled to Belfast, Ulster Museum, January - February 1972; and New York, Cultural Centre, April - June 1972.
London, Victor Waddington, Jack Butler Yeats: Paintings, February - March 1975, no. 1: this exhibition travelled to Montreal, Waddington Galleries, May - June 1975.
London, Theo Waddington, Jack B. Yeats: Oil Paintings, October - November 1978, no. 2.
Dublin, Waddington Galleries, Royal Hibernian Academy, Jack B. Yeats, February - March 1995, no. 3.
Special notice

Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.

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Nathaniel Nicholson
Nathaniel Nicholson Associate Director, Specialist

Lot Essay


This early oil painting is based on a scene that the artist sketched in Tralee, Co. Kerry in the summer of 1913 (Sketchbook 180, Yeats Archive, National Gallery of Ireland). A man is resting on a line of barrels outside a public house. His crutches are balanced carefully, and he reclines with his head on his hand in a conventional melancholy pose. Two men stand in the doorway of the pub, deep in conversation and oblivious to the figure. They carry walking sticks and are dressed in smart jackets and hats, indicating from other such figures in Yeats’s work that they are farmers in town on business. Their attire contrasts with that of the crippled man whose trousers are patched in pale blue fabric. The street is empty and the buildings cast deep shadows across the side street to the right. The activity inside in the pub is obscured by the screens across its windows but the large advertisements and colourful sporting prints hint at the conversation that might be heard in its interior. The circus, sports and a race meeting are advertised.

The painting presents a positive image of life in an Irish country town, even romanticizing the figure of the crippled man. While he rests, activity surrounds him, even the barrels on which he lies refer to commerce and industry. The composition is built up in strong geometric formations. The rectangular doorways and window frames of the buildings and pavements contrast with the rounded forms of the barrels and the undulating figure of the reclining man. The rough surface of the street is conveyed through the irregular application of paint, reminiscent of the great realist paintings of the 19th century. Pale blue and grey tones dominate the palette. These are dramatically contrasted in certain parts by intense reds such as those found in the metal rims of the barrels reflecting back sunlight, and in the window of the shop in the alleyway.

Yeats was intensely interested in depicting different social types in his work of these years. He produced a series of oil paintings as illustrations for George Birmingham’s Irishmen All, in 1913, which comprised of depictions of the principal characters to be found in the West of Ireland. Unlike more conventional and clichéd images of Irish life, A Summer Day presents the figures as individuals and balances humour with an empathetic quality that was recognized as a distinctive contribution of Yeats’s representation of Irish life. Hilary Pyle connects this concern with the plight of ordinary Irishmen and women, as seen in this work, to other well-known paintings such as Bachelors Walk, In Memory (1915, National Gallery of Ireland) (H. Pyle, Jack B. Yeats. A Biography, London, 1970, p. 117). Social inequality reached a low point in Ireland in 1913 with the Dublin Lockout but Yeats had already witnessed it on his visits to the Congested Districts Board regions of Galway and Mayo in 1905. While acknowledging poverty in his work, Yeats offsets its negative effects by focusing on sympathetic individuals who are presented as an intrinsic part of the community in which they exist. In A Summer Day he presents the vagrant as stoic and philosophical as he lies in the sunlight, taking in the chatter and goings on of the town.

Dr Róisín Kennedy

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