The Model – Ode to Yeats…

the model

During our stay in Bundoran, we took a day trip to the city of Sligo.  As academics, our quest was to visit The Model, a lovely modern art museum 20 miles south of Bundoran.  The Model is one of Ireland’s leading contemporary arts centers, and houses the Niland Collect of Art, one of the most notable collections in Ireland.  Featured works of the collection include John and Jack B Yeats, Estella Solomons, Paul Henry and Louis Le Broquy among others.

Model Museum group

While at The Model we met representatives from Fáilte Ireland, learned about the Yeats family, and had a delicious lunch in the museum’s café.  On a side note, my most favorite thing to eat in Ireland was the brown bread. Super scrumptious, and the museum café’s brown bread was one of the best I had while traveling there.  The representatives we met from the national tourism board were wonderful and generous with their time, considering they were meeting a group of dusty, musty professors and administrators.


While at the museum we learned about the Yeats Family.


Jack B Yeats, son of John Butler Yeats was an artisit – a painter.  He was the younger brother of the poet W. B. Yeats. He spent much of his boyhood in Co. Sligo and maintained that the landscape and light of the county inspired him to become a painter. In London he sporadically attended various art schools, including the Westminster School of Art, and worked as a black-and-white illustrator, chiefly for magazines. His early paintings were in watercolour, and he was over 30 before he began to work regularly in oils.

Often in his work you will see circus images, especially clowns, used as a metaphor for life, loneliness, mental illness in his work.  He was the youngest child of the family and lived with his maternal grandparents in Sligo from 7-16 yrs. Old.  Jack’s early watercolors (circa 1898-1910) are Sligo scenes and characters.  In 1905 he was commissioned to illustrate for a writer who looked at poverty in the west.  Between 1910 – 1920s worked in oils, mostly political works.  During the mid 1920s (later career) his work changed to a loose style with bright colors, as his painting technique moved from brush to handle and palette knife.


Jack’s brother W. B. Yeats was a famous poet.  He was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1865, William Butler Yeats was the son of a well-known Irish painter, John Butler Yeats. He spent his childhood in County Sligo, where his parents were raised, and in London. He returned to Dublin at the age of fifteen to continue his education and study painting, but quickly discovered he preferred poetry.  Yeats became involved with the Celtic Revival, a movement against the cultural influences of English rule in Ireland during the Victorian period, which sought to promote the spirit of Ireland’s native heritage. Though Yeats never learned Gaelic himself, his writing at the turn of the century drew extensively from sources in Irish mythology and folklore.

John B Yeats ,father of Jack and W. B.,was also a painter. John Butler Yeats attended Trinity College, Dublin and studied law. He was admitted to the bar in 1866 and had a short-lived career as a barrister before pursuing his love of drawing in 1867. He went to America on holiday with 2 daughters and stayed.  W.B. sent him money to live.  He is buried in upstate NY.

Our visit ended with a nice chat with the Yeats International Society in the lobby of the museum.  We learned out the Yeats International School run in the summer by the society.  Sounded wonderful -Poetry circles, book clubs, public lectures, seminars, networking with experts.


A penny for your thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Chair of Social Science, Humanities,
& Foreign Languages

Liberal Arts & University Transfer
Craven Community College

800 College Court
New Bern, NC 28562
Phone: 252.638.7328
Fax: 252.638.3231

Blog Stats

  • 28,684 hits
%d bloggers like this: