The Yeats and Son exhibition, taking place at the award-winning arts centre The Model in Sligo, highlights that while both men were gifted artists, the father and son had very different creative styles.
John B Yeats was a well-known portrait painter but did not achieve the fame or success of his son Jack who is now considered one of Ireland’s greatest 20th- century artists.
Jack is renowned for his paintings of everyday Irish life and of Celtic mythology.
His most important works include the much loved Communicating with Prisoners, shortlisted as one of Ireland’s favourite top 10 paintings, and The Funeral of Harry Boland, both viewable in the exhibition.
The two separate exhibitions are drawn from The Niland Collection, one of Ireland’s most notable art collections, and will run from 12 May – 2 Sept 2012.
Sligo, in the west of Ireland, was home to the Yeats family, and such was their influence the breathtaking and varied scenery of mountains, woodlands and coast is now known as ‘Yeats Country’.
The area inspired not just Jack but also his brother William Butler Yeats, the Nobel Prize-winning poet and author.
In addition to Jack’s work, many of William’s poems speak of the beauty, mythology and distinct character of the Sligo countryside, including one of his best known and loved works, The Lake isle of Innisfree.
WB Yeats is buried in Sligo and his tomb forms part of a popular tour through Yeats Country which attracts thousands of visitors to the region each year.
His graveside is in a churchyard in the village of Drumcliffe, which is also the site of an ancient monastic settlement founded by St Colmcille in the 6th century.
The poet asked to be buried ‘under bare Ben Bulben´s head’, the spectacular Ben Bulben rock formation that dominates the Sligo skyline.
In Sligo city the Yeats Memorial Building presents a fascinating photographic exhibition of the life and times of the poet and his wider family, and hosts a varied programme of Yeats-related lectures and events through the year.
A trip there combined with a visit to The Model exhibition and a tour through Yeats Country is a must for all Yeats aficionados.