BRIDGET WHELAN writer

August is archive month. Posts from the past

A Painting that tells a different story to everyone who views it…ART FOR WRITERS

Yeats, Jack Butler, 1871-1957; 'That we may never meet again'

Last week’s offering (A Victorian genre painting) was almost hyper realistic. In contrast, Jack Yeats makes the viewer do a lot of work. This is an ambiguous painting and the title raises more questions: That We May Never Meet Again
Is it a defiant declaration or an unspoken sadness? A wish, a promise, a foreshadowing of an aching loss?
The painting hangs in York Art Gallery and Adam Alcock commenting on it in 2012 suggests that the second figure “could be the other’s reflection, he is painted in lighter, rippling colours. He is frailer, somehow older than the younger man in the foreground.”
To me the guy in the hat is the older of the two and there’s nothing frail about the other one. He seems more confident, his focus is elsewhere, concentrating on what he is about to do, his future.
How do you see these two figures? What’s holding them together for this fleeting moment? What breaks them apart?

Jack Yeats, by the way, was the brother of the great WB Yeats. AND the first person to win an Olympic medal for Ireland. He won a silver medal in the arts and culture segment of the 1924 Games…oh, I wish they would bring that back.

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4 comments on “A Painting that tells a different story to everyone who views it…ART FOR WRITERS

  1. A suggestive yet interesting painting, Bridget. I am by no means an art critic, but my interpretation would be “Saying goodbye to one’s fear”. Conquering one’s fear can be most tempestuous.I stared at the painting for quite a while and the background and the ghost-like face and body almost translucent brings me to my humble and inexperienced conclusion. “We have nothing to fear but fear itself”. ☺☺

    • bridget whelan
      November 4, 2017

      I’m no expert either but what’s wonderful about this painting is the freedom the artist has given us to decide for ourselves and the brilliant thing is that we’re all right….I saw the paler figure as almost a Christ-like figure. So the man in the hat is looking at the spiritual side of himself that he once – fleetingly – understood, embraced even and they are now out of tune with one another….

  2. robbiesinspiration
    November 4, 2017

    A most intriguing painting, Bridget.

    • bridget whelan
      November 5, 2017

      Isn’t it though – every time I come back to this post I change my mind and re-think these two characters,

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This entry was posted on November 3, 2017 by in Inspiring pictures and tagged , , , , .
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