Yeats, Jack Butler (1871-1957), painter and author. Born in London, the youngest child of John Butler Yeats and brother of W. B. Yeats, he grew up mainly in Sligo, and attended art schools in London. He became a friend of J. M. Synge, with whom he shared walking tours in the west of Ireland, leading to a joint commission to produce a series of articles for the Manchester Guardian (1905), which furnished the illustrations later used for Synge's The Aran Islands (1907).
He returned to live in Ireland in 1910, first at Greystones, Co. Wicklow, then in Dublin. Yeats began working consistently in oil from 1905. The mystical atmosphere of his later canvases reflects his conviction that there is a higher reality.
Yeats wrote a number of plays. Harlequin Positions (1939), La La Noo (1942), and In Sand (1949) were produced at the Abbey's Peacock Theatre. Three further plays, Apparitions, The Old Sea Road, and Rattle, appeared in a single volume in 1933. In their indifference to normal dramatic convention, and the openings they create for metaphysical surmise, they anticipate the stagecraft of Samuel Beckett, a personal friend.
Yeats also published a number of idiosyncratic works of pseudo-autobiography and fantastic narrative. Sligo (1930), Sailing, Sailing Swiftly (1933), The Charmed Life (1938), Ah, Well (1942), And To You Also (1944), and The Careless Flower (1947) display a liking for free association. In The Amaranthers (1936) James Gilfoyle, a Dubliner, makes a journey to a magical isle off the west of Ireland.