Illustrated autograph letter signed to Gilbert Seldes.New York, 317 West 29th Street, 17 December 1921 Stock Code: 114617
NotesIn this illustrated letter written six weeks before his death, John Butler Yeats (1839-1922), father of the poet W. B. Yeats, writes to Dial editor Gilbert Seldes: " That hour glass is a great comfort to Father Time & to others. Art with representation, that is, without condition is the latest demands of austere critics. These people, & among them are men of distinction, have never, not for one second known the thrill of a picture. No one knows the thrill except the painter - & these alas are as ignorant as sheep & quite incapable of expressing their thoughts in grammatical English - You should have let me speak - I am disappointed but not surprised. I am only surprised when you admit Anatole France" (Anatole France's autobiographical fragment La Vie en fleur (Life in Bloom) was published in The Dial, volume 71, July-December 1921.)
The sketch takes up the upper half of the page and shows a blind critic, dropping his spectacles, groping his way towards Father Time (a self-portrait of JBY), who is seated on a barrel holding an hour glass in one hand, his scythe in the other, while three figures (representative of artists past and present?) watch on smilingly.
Yeats had moved to New York at the age of 69, where he was friendly with members of the Ashcan School of painters and lived chiefly off the generosity of John Quinn. He died in his New York home on 3 February 1922.
Single page (275 x 213 mm), written and drawn on one side only.
Creased where folded, chipped at edges, with loss at lower outer corner affecting two words.
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