A Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Art

By Ian Chilvers | Go to book overview
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Y

Yakulov, Georgy. See BLUE ROSE.

YBAs. See YOUNG BRITISH ARTISTS.

Yeats, Jack Butler (1871-1957). The best- known Irish painter of the 20th century, born in London, the son of John Butler Yeats ( 1839-1922), a barrister who became an unremarkable but successful portrait painter, and brother of the celebrated poet William Butler Yeats. He had an idyllic childhood in Sligo, his ancestral home on the north-west coast of Ireland, and studied at various art schools in London, notably Westminster School of Art under Fred *Brown. From 1910 he lived in Dublin. Early in his career he worked mainly as an illustrator; he did his first oil paintings in about 1897 (the year of his first one-man exhibition in London), but he did not work regularly in the medium until about 1905. The subjects he painted included Celtic myth and everyday Irish life (including scenes of fairs and horse races), and through these he contributed to the upsurge of nationalist feeling in the arts that accompanied the movement for Irish independence. His early work as a painter was influenced by the French *Impressionist pictures he saw in the collection of Hugh *Lane, but in the 1920s he developed a more personal *Expressionist style characterized by high-keyed colour and extremely loose brushwork (there is some similarity to the work of * Kokoshka, who became a great friend in the last decade of Yeats's life). Yeats has many admirers, but some critics think that his late paintings often degenerate into a muddy mess. He was immensely prolific, producing more than 1,000 paintings and a great many drawings. His work is represented in numerous galleries in Ireland, notably the National Gallery and the Hugh Lane Gallery of Modern art in Dublin and the Sligo County Museum and Art Gallery, which has material relating also to his father and brother. There are also numerous examples in the USA, where he has long been popular. Yeats was a writer as well as a painter--the author of several plays, novels, and volumes of poetry, as well as Life in the West of Ireland ( 1912) and Sligo ( 1930).

Yoshihara, Jiro (1905-72). Japanese painter and entrepreneur, born in Osaka. He was a wealthy industrialist and was mainly self- taught as an artist. During the 1930s he was a pioneer of abstract art in Japan, but he is best known as the central figure of the * Gutai Group, which he founded in 1954 and sustained with his wealth for the rest of his life. In 1957 Yoshihara was awarded first prize at the Tokyo *Biennale. His paintings of this time are 'a sophisticated mixture of Eastern and Western modes. They mingle Zen, and Zen versions of traditional oriental calligraphy, with things learned from American *Abstract Expressionism'. ( Edward *Lucie- Smith , Visual Arts in the Twentieth Century, 1996).

Young British Artists (YBAs). An imprecise term applied to a number of highly publicized British avant-garde artists active from the late 1980s, several of whom are well known for their grubbily glamorous lifestyles as well as for what they create; they do not form an organized group and their work is diverse, but there are ties of friendship linking many of them and they have been supported chiefly by Charles *Saatchi. These artists are sometimes also referred to as the 'Freeze' generation, in reference to the exhibition organized by Damien *Hirst in 1988 that first brought them media attention. Subsequently there have been several other exhibitions featuring their work, most notably 'Sensation' (see AVANT-GARDE) at the Royal Academy, London, in 1997. In a supplement on this exhibition published in the magazine

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