20 May 1999
Jack Butler Yeats, R.H.A. (1871-1957)
Driftwood in a Cave
signed 'JACK B/YEATS' (lower left), inscribed 'DRIFTWOOD IN A CAVE' (on the stretcher)
oil on canvas
13 x 21 in. (34.9 x 53.4 cm.)
Painted in 1948
Victor Waddington Gallery, Dublin, where purchased by P. Herdman in 1950.
Mrs Dorothy Herdman, Co. Tyrone.
Waddington Galleries, London.
Mr & Mrs J Donnelly.
Anon. sale; Christie's, London, 8 November 1985, lot 237 (withdrawn).
Anon. sale; Christie's, London, 23 November 1993, lot 94A, where purchased by the present owner.
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H. Pyle, A Catalogue Raisonn of the Oil Paintings II, London, 1992, no.954.
Belfast, CEMA, Museum and Art Gallery, Jack B. Yeats Paintings, February-March 1956, no.21.
Hilary Pyle (loc. cit.) comments on the present work: 'A man with a hat is shown framed in the mouth of a cave, hands in his pockets. Within the darkness of the cave, spars of wood, touched with colour, are piled up.
As in much of Yeats's paintings at this period, the title points to the visual allegory. Like the wood thrown into the cave by the waves, the man's life is a kind of flotsam and jetsam; though, drawn by the light, he can stride out of the cave's darkness towards something high and inspirational'.
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