8 May 2008
Jack Butler Yeats, R.H.A. (1871-1957)
He Sings to the Night
signed 'JACK B YEATS' (lower left)
oil on canvas
14 x 21 in. (35.5 x 53 cm.)
Painted in 1948.
The artist's executors.
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H. Pyle, Jack B. Yeats A Catalogue Raisonné of the Oil Paintings II, London, 1992, p. 831, no. 918.
Edinburgh, Society of Scottish Artists, Mound Galleries, Loan Exhibition, 1957, no. 195.
The theme of the ballad singer and the song was one painted many times by Yeats. His chief source of inspiration was the Irish ballad, he collected ballads from an early stage in his career, finding original broadsheets and broadsides as well as published material, particularly enjoying anything with an original, rousing refrain.
Hilary Pyle (loc. cit.) comments on the present work: 'A figure holding a printed sheet (probably a ballad singer) is singing in the street as the moon appears from behind the clouds. In the background a watchman and another man warm themselves by a fire. The painting is almost entirely in blues'.
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