Archive for William Butler Yeats

A brush with Genius

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY with tags , , , , , on August 18, 2010 by echostains

O Connel lbridge

John (or ‘Jack’  Butler Yeats b. 1861 – 1957, London  was the brother of the famous Irish poet William Butler Yeats.  His romantic expressionistic art  explored the Irish way of life, horse racing and Celtic myth.  He started his artistic career  at 17 and over his lifetime he produced over a thousand works. 

He sings to the night

His early work was realistic but after 1920s onwards  his work became more expressive and went from the more graphic to the use of thickly applied impasto, which seems to have become a trademark of his. Yeats’s use of this medium, thickly applied does not translate  to screen very well, though it does give you a slight hint of the lyrical way he applies oil.  In my opinion the paintings are better seen in a gallery setting.  

Queen Maeve walked upon this Strand

 Yeats’s  later work was inspired by Austrian expressionist artist Oskar Kokoschka (b. 1886 – 1980) who was also a poet and writer and playwright  like Yeats.  I shall be doing a post about this fabulous artist whom I greatly admire at a later date

There is a wonderful website of information and images here  Morning after rain image from here, Queen Maeve here and He sings to the Night here
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When who is old?

Posted in POETRY with tags , , on August 5, 2010 by echostains

I think it’s about time for another William Butler Yeats poem.  This one is called ‘When you are old’ (and I know the feeling:))   I always think it an extra bonus when the poet themselves actually reads their own poem.  After all, the writer above all knows the way that their work was meant to sound.

‘When You are Old’ was written for  Maud Gonne , a woman who rejected his proposals and there are some beautiful sentiments within the poem about the longevity of love.  But this could also be interpreted as ‘well you missed your chance with me….’ though.  Or you could see it as Yeat’s saying that beauty has fled and with it many admirers, but one remains steadfast.  The way that the poem is read has a kind of lulling and comforting quality.  it is sad in places, but the ‘when’ of it suggests that the woman isn’t yet old.   Which way you would you interpret this poem yourself?

Video from SpokenVerse Thanks!

Butler Yeats, a short biography here

 

Plus……… over on Book stains….

Yeats remembers forgotten Beauty

Posted in ART, POETRY with tags , , on June 10, 2010 by echostains

 

Jack Butler Yeats Queen Maeve Walked Upon this strand

I’m really getting the poems of  Irish poet William Butler Yeats.   This is my latest favorite, along side a painting by his equally talented brother Jack Butler Yeats.  There is such wondrous imagery in Yeats poems –  ‘the jewelled crowns that kings have hurled in shadowy pool…..  ‘cloth’ and ‘murderous moth’:) a delight! 

He remembers Forgotten Beauty

 

by: William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

 

    HEN my arms wrap you round I press
    My heart upon the loveliness
    That has long faded from the world;
    The jewelled crowns that kings have hurled
    In shadowy pools, when armies fled;
    The love-tales wrought with silken thread
    By dreaming ladies upon cloth
    That has made fat the murderous moth;
    The roses that of old time were
    Woven by ladies in their hair,
    The dew-cold lilies ladies bore
    Through many a sacred corridor
    Where such grey clouds of incense rose
    That only God’s eyes did not close:
    For that pale breast and lingering hand
    Come from a more dream-heavy land,
    A more dream-heavy hour than this;
    And when you sigh from kiss to kiss
    I hear white Beauty sighing, too,
    For hours when all must fade like dew,
    But flame on flame, and deep on deep,
    Throne over throne where in half sleep,
    Their swords upon their iron knees,
    Brood her high lonely mysteries.

Poem from here

Painting from here

Art I LOVE – Jack Butler Yeats

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, FAVORITE ART: Art I LOVE with tags , , , , , on May 27, 2010 by echostains

Jack Butler Yeats

Jack  (John) Butler Yeats (b. 1871 – 1957  (London) was the brother of the Irish poet William Butler Yeats whose poem ‘He wishes for the cloths of Heaven’ I featured the other day.  Yeats started out as an illustrator usually depicting scenes of Ireland.   His style had elements of Romanticism but in 1920 his style became more Expressionistic.

jack butler-yeats Head of a man self portrait

Yeats was educated in Sligo Ireland but studied art at the Westminster school of Art under Frederick  Brown.  He worked in watercolour until 1905 when he started using oils on a regularly.   Sir Hugh Percy Lane who founded the Hugh Lane Art Gallery, Dublin commissioned Yeats to paint Distinguished Irish men.  He was very much influenced by the French Impressionists Masters in Lane’s collection.

jb yeats o connel bridge

Though not involved politically in the Irish republic movement, he began to paint urban and rural Irish life in a range of more varied colours and swapped the brush at times for other mark making tools.  His brushstrokes became swirling and free depicting vigour and freedom of expression.

Jack B Yeats The Singing Horseman

1920 was a turning point for Yeats, he turned  from illustration to symbolism in a much more Expressionistic style.   Yeats believed that the painter  must be part of the land and of the life he paints and this can be seen by his use of impasto and the vigorous swirling  strokes that he used to paint Ireland and Celtic mythology.

Death for Only One1937

He painted circus’s, horse racing, music Halls, rugged landscapes and Celtic mythology. 

High Spring Tide by Jack Butler Yeats

His painting became more nostalgic after his wife died in 1947.  He won a silver medal in 1924 for painting at the Tailteann Games. I can’t believe that some critics don’t rate Jack Butler Yeats as being relevent to Irish painting!  Luckily a retrospective of his paintings in 1971 revived his art and reputation.  He died in Dublin 1957.  He is an important artist in Irish Art’s history.

Glory to the brave singer jack butler-yeats 1950

 A short biography of the artist here

Images from here and here and here, here and here

 

Don’t forget to read my BlogSpot interview with Artistatexit0  here

He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

Posted in POETRY with tags , , on May 25, 2010 by echostains

William_Butler_Yeats by John Singer Sargeant

It’s a beautiful day (again) and I’m not used to it, but it shall not stop me praising it (softly) in case it hears and goes away which happens so often with English weather.   So I’ve sunshine outside, – I look on Lesliepaints blog and what do I see but sunlit paintings bathed in light and my heart sings!

Bathed in sunlight, inspired by Leslie and  armed with inspiration  I think of this poem which I wish I’d written, but I know I never could even if  lived a thousand lifetimes.  It’s by Irish poet William Butler Yeats (brother of  artist Jack Butler Yeats who I shall be writing about very soon because I love his work  and the Yeats brothers are such interesting fellows).

 

He  wishes for the Cloths of heaven 
Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with the golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams beneath your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams…
William Butler Yeats

I’m aware that this isn’t really about a Summer’s day – but I’m quite unrepentant!  The day has brought it to mind.  I like the imageryof the Heavens embroidered cloth, which must mean the stars.  Butler Yeats does include all the lights though too;-

The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and half-light,

And it’s these lights which inspire.  There are lights or certain kinds of light which we remember all our lives – especially the way the light touches and lights up our childhood.  These lights never fade or dim and always burn brightly in our memory.  Whilst our eyes may be failing these brightly lit memories shine.  Halcyon days!  We may be making one at this moment in time, though we will never know until tomorrow.

Poem from here
Lots of his poems here

Image from here

 

 

 

Dont forget to visit Artatexit0 and my interview with this artist here