The Secret Life of Jack B Yeats

art — Tags: , , , — comelybankingcrisis @ 10:37 am

So Jack B. Yeats, Irish modernist painter and brother of poet William Butler, apparently used to be a cartoonist for Punch magazine. His cartoons dealt with a variety of topics from the class system to the strangeness of new technology (better avoid Mashable then).

Tenniel CartoonAccording to a piece in the Irish Times, he sketched under the pseudonym ‘W Bird’, possibly in an attempt to avoid association with the aggressively anti-Irish cartoons of John Tenniel, who could be the one person more hated in Ireland than Oliver Cromwell, if only people knew his name! His political works, such as The Fenian Guy Fawkes (left) emblazon many an Irish person’s school textbooks.

Ascribing this motivation to Yeats is interpretation of course. The truth is that none of Yeats’ cartoons show a strong interest in Irish politics anyway. Those of us interested in branding these days might see it simply as a marketing exercise, keeping his artist’s name separate and not muddied by this lesser habit. It’s also worth noting that noms de plume were and are hardly rare.

But it’s an interesting insight into this great artist nonetheless. His work, For the Road (pictured), can be viewed in the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin.

For the Road by Jack B Yeats

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