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Jack B. Yeats

Masquerade and Spectacle: the Circus and the Travelling Fair

Sat 27 September 2008, 11.00amSun 14 December 2008, 5.00pm

Jack B. Yeats (1871 – 1957), brother of W.B. Yeats, is one of the most internationally acclaimed Irish painters of the early twentieth century.

Yeats became fascinated by the circus, its live dynamic and the characters he encountered, when he first visited fairs and small travelling circuses in his native Sligo. In 1887, at the age of sixteen, he joined his parents in London and became a regular visitor to the spectacular London circuses.

His sketches and paintings capture dramatic moments where the viewer is aware of the unique experience of watching a performer interact with a crowd and the dynamic of live events unfolding. He held the character of the clown in particular fascination and was drawn into their world of comedy, mystery and song.

His paintings are often poetically titled and hint at more personal motivations underlying the characters depicted and his own ideas of creativity and artistic intent.

Organised by Compton Verney in collaboration with the National Gallery of Ireland.