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In his paintings of the early 1920s, Jack Yeats surveyed the character and activities of the ordinary people of Western Ireland. He used a bold drawing in outline that is almost caricature, which he then painted directly with strong colours. Here a man stares over the parapet of the bridge at Sligo into the muddy water of the river. His deportment and expression suggest a particular type of local character. Yeats grew up near Sligo, and knew the people well. In about 1925 Yeats took up a quite different manner of painting, with lighter colours, particularly blues, and looser shapes, and with imaginary subjects from Irish history.
Jack Yeats was the younger brother of the poet W.B. Yeats.

September 2004