Lot 305
  • 305

Jack Butler Yeats, R.H.A.

50,000 - 70,000 GBP
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  • Jack Butler Yeats, R.H.A.
  • The Dark Path
  • signed l.r.: JACK B YEATS
  • oil on canvas
  • 35.5 by 53cm., 14 by 21in.


Victor Waddington Galleries, Dublin, where purchased by Mrs Josephine McWilliams in 1952;
Victor Waddington;
Private collection, 1971;
Theo Waddington, London, 1978;
Waddington Galleries, London;
Christie’s, London, 7 November 1991, lot 119, where purchased by the previous owner and thence by descent


London, Theo Waddington, Oil Paintings, 25 October – 25 November 1978, no.20;
London, Waddington Galleries, Jack B. Yeats, 30 March – 23 April 1983, no.12;          London, Waddington Galleries, Jack B. Yeats, 27 May – 20 June 1987, no.22


Hillary Pyle, Jack Butler Yeats, A Catalogue Raisonné of the Oil Paintings, Vol.II., Andre Deutsch, London, 1992, no.1029, p.935

Catalogue Note

Painted in 1950, the present work depicts a man sitting in shadow in a park, perhaps St Stephen’s Green in Dublin, as evening approaches. As so often with Yeats' work there is a deeper, and on this particular occasion, personal meaning being acted out. According to the artist, he was portraying himself, thinking of what the future might be after the death of his wife Mary 'Cottie' Yeats, who died in 1947. In the fading light of the evening, here is a quiet moment for reflection, and while the path may be dark - lined with ash-coloured trees and pools of shade - beyond the shrub behind his head a golden light shines. Its symbolic placement suggests hope for the future and indeed, as the artist entered his last decade, he refused to tire or slow and went on to the most creative and energetic period of his painting career.