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 Robert Ballagh  (1943 - )

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Lived/Active: Ireland      Known for: pop art painting, theatre set and graphic design, murals, posters

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Robert Ballagh (b.1943)

The Irish painter and designer Robert Ballagh was born in Dublin in 1943. A graduate of the Dublin Institute of Technology in architecture, he worked as an engineering draughtsman, a musician and a postman before taking up fine art painting full-time at the age of 24.

Pop-art is a major influence on Ballagh's style of painting, and his artworks can be humorous as well as didactic.

As in the case of many artists, Ballagh was obliged to combine fine art with more commercial design activities. Using his graphic design skills, he produced over 70 stamps for An Post, as well as a series of Irish banknotes ("Series C") for the government just prior to the introduction of the euro.

Ballagh also produced a wide range of murals, posters, limited prints and book covers. His theatre and set designs include works for "I'll Go On", Gate Theatre (1985); Samuel Beckett's "Endgame", Gate Theatre (1991); the Riverdance company; Oscar Wilde's "Salomé", Gate Theatre, Dublin (1998); and the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics in Croke Park, Dublin (2003).

Ballagh represented Ireland at the Paris Biennale Exhibition in 1969, and at numerous exhibitions in Europe and overseas, such as Florence, Ljubljana and Tokyo. Ballagh's paintings are held in several public collections of Irish painting including the National Gallery of Ireland, the Hugh Lane Gallery, the Ulster Museum, Trinity College Dublin, and Nuremberg's Albrecht Durer House.

Major exhibitions of his work have been staged in various European galleries, including Lund, Warsaw, Sofia and Dublin.

Ballagh was elected the first chairman of the Artists' Association of Ireland (Aosdana) on its foundation in 1981, and is a fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science.  Ballagh is married to Elizabeth Carabini in 1967 and has two children.

Online Encyclopedia of Irish and World Art

Biography from Whyte's:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Roderic Knowles has written of the artist: "[Ballagh is] recognized for his imaginative and hyperealistic renderings of well known literary, historical or establishment figures … He represented Ireland at the Paris Biennale 1969 and soon became one of Ireland's most reputed painters.  In the evolution of his art, in moving from abstraction to figuration, 'he introduced the figure first as a silhouette or 'cut-out', then as a painted figure (as in his pastiches of Goya, Delacroix, Poussin or Ingres) heavily outlined',

Cyril Barrett writes … Other features of his work should be noted: his social commitment, which shows itself in his humour and wit, parody and pastiche and social comment, and his quite shameless literary and artistic allusions" (Roderic Knowles, Contemporary Irish Art: A Documentation, Wolfhound Press, Dublin, 1982, p.216).

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