Known for his paintings of the natural world, historical figures, and Native American iconography, Ira Yeager was a well-recognized character on the West Coast art scene. Born in Washington State and primarily based in Northern California (with key periods spent on the sunny beaches of Greece), Yeager has a style that’s earthy, boldly hued, and brilliantly boho. Though he was born further north and traveled the world, his work is truly evocative of the spirit of the Bay Area and Napa Valley in particular.
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“Coming from the land of Christmas trees and snow capped mountains, somehow I felt misplaced,” Yeager said of his upbringing in Washington State. It was his years visiting Greece that expanded his perspective on landscape painting, giving him a new view of subject matters that were important to him. “When I found the Mediterranean, an awakening and an epiphany emerged—I was home,” Yeager said. There, he explored new artistic techniques that replicated the patina of ancient Greek art (using locally sourced paints that have a tendency to dry and crack), giving his work a distinctive feel.
His years in Napa enabled him to combine subjects that were prevalent throughout his life in the Med with California culture as well (“How could I not paint vineyards?”, he once said). His personal passion for antiques and furniture also reflected his favorite time periods and places—mainly 18th century France and Sweden—creating a cultural medley in his home and work. Today, the works that are left by Yeager explore all these different moments from his life and create something of a roadmap of his influences, spanning from royal court life in France to country life in Calistoga.
A year after his peaceful passing at age 83, we’re pleased to offer a variety of works by Ira Yeager, including paintings, sculptures, and furnishings the artist painted or speckled. Shop a selection of his works here.
Lead image: Simon Watson / Trunk Archive