2017-11-22-2018-12-19 --- 2018-12-19 01:44:46--18
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LOT :77
Robert Ballagh (b.1943)
Portrait of Patrick Kavanagh
Acrylic on board, 61 x 61cm (24 x 24
Estimate EUR : €5,000.00 - €7,000.00
Auction Date : 22-11-2017


Robert Ballagh (b.1943)
Portrait of Patrick Kavanagh
Acrylic on board, 61 x 61cm (24 x 24)

Provenance: The Eamonn Mallie Collection; acquired directly from the artist.

My decision to commission a portrait from Robert Ballagh of Patrick Kavanagh, was prompted by a set of circumstances that arose by chance.I spotted four Ballagh life size 'cut out' figures in collector Vincent Ferguson's store, akin to the examples in the Bank of Ireland collection.I ended up buying the Ballagh works from Vincent and commissioned the artist to paint two further works - one of a literary figure - explaining that Patrick Kavanagh was my poet hero in any language.

I also spoke to Bobby about my affection for English photorealist artist Patrick Caulfield.I struck gold. Ballagh had been invited to create a centenary stamp to mark the birth of the Inniskeen born poet in 1904. As it transpired the stamp was not published but Ballagh used it as a template to realise this Dublin pub scene in which he placed Kavanagh.Lady Luck struck again. Bobby informed me he was very influenced by Patrick Caulfield in his earlier years as an artist.Being the extraordinary archivist thathe is, he went to a drawer and pulled out a Caulfield exhibition catalogue with a bowl of sweets on the front cover. He suggested he would paint a similar work linking it to his four year old daughter Rachel, the subject of one of the 'cut out' figures executed over four decades ago.Today Rachel is a mature woman and like her dad, is also an artist.

The four Ballagh life size 'cut out' paintings architecturally set back from the Kavanagh portrait and the Caulfield Still Life on the wall in the hallway of our Myrtlefield Park home in South Belfast created a museum feeling with a sense of visitors viewing paintings on a wall.

Eamonn Mallie

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1. Estimates and Reserves

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