Robert Ballagh was one of a number of Irish artists taken on by the gallerist David Hendriks in the early 1970s. At the time, David Hendriks supported a host of avant-garde artists when the climate in Ireland was hostile to new subjects, approaches and materials. Many of the Irish artists taken on by Hendriks went on to achieve international reputations. This tribute to him was the result of a joint collaboration between Ballagh and the collector Gordon Lambert.
Ballagh is recognised as a singular figure in the introduction of Pop Art to Ireland. Portraiture, a traditionally conservative genre of art, was given a whole new lease of life in his hands. The elegant poised manner of Hendriks is apparent as he looks out at us, while in the background, Gordon Lambert peers at an abstract painting by the Irish artist Cecil King. Ballagh’s portrait suggests not only the importance of David Hendriks to contemporary art developments in Ireland at the time, but also our need to look more closely in order to see.
|Acrylic on canvas
|101.3 x 61 cm
|IMMA Collection: Gordon Lambert Trust, 1992
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