John Butler Yeats

From Academic Kids

John Butler Yeats (Born Tullylish 16 March 1839, died 3 February 1922) was an Irish artist and the father of William Butler Yeats and Jack Butler Yeats. He is probably best known for his portrait of the young William Butler Yeats which is one of a number of his pictures in the Yeats museum in the National Gallery of Ireland. His portrait of John O'Leary (1904) is considered to be his masterpiece (Raymond Keaveney 2002).

Educated in Trinity College Dublin John Butler Yeats began his career as a lawyer and devilled briefly with Isaac Butt before he took up painting in 1867 and studied at Hearthleys Art School. There are few records of his sales, so there is no catalogue of his work in private collections. It is possible that some of his early work may have been destroyed by fire in WWII. It is clear that he had no trouble getting commissions as his sketches and oils are found in private homes in Ireland, England and America. His later portraits show great sensitivity to the sitter. However, he was a poor businessman and was never financially secure. He moved house frequently and moved several times between England and Ireland. At the age of 69 he moved to New York, where he was friendly with members of the Ashcan school of painters.

External links and references

  • Martyn Anglesea (2003), Yeats, John Butler in Brian Lalor (Ed.) The Encyclopedia of Ireland. Dublin: Gill and Macmillian. ISBN 0-7171-3000-2.
  • Bruce Arnold (1977), Irish Art, a concise history. London: Thames and Hudson. ISBN 050020148X
  • Raymond Keaveney (2002), National Gallery of Ireland, Essential Guide. London: Scala. ISBN 1857592670.
  • Biographical note in the Princess Grace Irish Library (http://www.pgil-eirdata.org/html/pgil_datasets/authors/y/Yeats,JohnB/life.htm)
  • William M. Murphy Prodigal Father: The Life of John Butler Yeats, 1839-1922 published by Cornell University Press in 1978, paperback 1939, and reprinted in paperback with some new mnaterial in 2001 by Syracuse University Press.
  • William M. Murphy (1995) Family Secrets: William Butler Yeats and His Relatives Syracuse University Press, 1995pt:John Butler Yeats
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