The commission gave Ballagh an opportunity to reconnect with the hard-edge, black-outline pop art language that launched him as an international artist over forty years ago. Most Pop Art at that time blandly accepted mass media reality as it was but Ballagh, having no interest in art that didn't say anything, employed its eye-grabbing imagery to give direct expression to contemporary social issues.
He represented Ireland at the 1969 Paris Biennale with a series of silkscreen and acrylic images of marchers, burning monks in Vietnam, refugees and firing squads in South America. On returning to Ireland he joined Michael Farrell and other artists in withdrawing from the Living Art Exhibition in Belfast as a protest against brutal police attacks on Civil Rights marchers, but soon began to doubt the effectiveness of such a gesture.
At the first opportunity he accepted an Arts Council invitation to take part in a touring show of new Irish artists that would be exhibited in Belfast and Derry, as well as in other countries. His hope was to create a series of large paintings that would have immediate relevance to the situation there. He was soon drawn to Goya's celebrated 19th century The Third of May painting of Spanish protesters being summarily executed by a French firing squad. The more he pored over it the more the image seemed to merge with the images of violence in the North he saw every evening on the television news.
Picasso had already used The Third of May to make a comment on the Korean War, but this had involved altering the structure of the Goya painting. Ballagh decided to leave the structure the same but modernise the style, opting for a brash contemporary pastiche which - also applied to his versions of two other similarly inspired French classic paintings, Delacroix's Liberty at the Barricades and David's The Rape of the Sabines - could be read as a plea for tolerance in the North's internecine conflict.
Although denounced by some critics at the time as a send-up of famous paintings", The Third of May After Goya, 1970 has been widely reproduced in magazines and school history books and was used in N. Glendenning's definite study Goya and His Critics to illustrate a striking parallel "between the presence of French troops on Spanish soil in 1808 and English troops in Ireland in the 1970s."
The experience of painstakingly repainting The Third of May After Goya, 1970 fed into the thought process that inspired Ballagh in 2008 to respond in a similar stylised manner to Theodore Gericault's monumental 1819 painting Raft of Medusa, a depiction of a shipwrecked French frigate La Medusa which before it sank was abandoned by its captain and officers, leaving behind without lifeboats 150 passengers and crew, a mere 15 of whom survived on a makeshift raft. Just as Gericault intended his painting as an indictment of French political corruption and failure of leadership, for Ballagh the unfortunate victims seemed almost too aptly to represent the poor and the marginalised left behind by the excesses of the Celtic Tiger.
Ballagh's Raft of Medusa (2008-2009) delivers this powerful metaphor with a deceptively easy-to-read directness that hides the complexity of its execution, much in the manner of The Third of May After Goya (1970) and also of its later 2006 version which, although reduced in scale, loses little of the original's punch and relevance.
- Auction Details
(a) Each lot is put up subject to any reserve price imposed by the vendor
(b) Subject to sub-clause (a) of this clause, the highest bidder for each lot shall be the purchaser thereof
(c) If any dispute arises as to the highest bidder the auctioneer shall have absolute discretion to determine the dispute and may put up again and re-sell the lot in respect of which the dispute arises.
(a) The bidding and advances shall be regulated by and at the absolute discretion of the auctioneer and he shall have the right to refuse any bid or bids. NOTE: Where an agent bids, even on behalf of a disclosed client, the auctioneer nevertheless has the right at his discretion to refuse any such bid.
(b) The purchaser of each lot shall immediately on its sale, if required by the auctioneer, give him the name and address of the purchaser and pay to the auctioneer at his discretion the whole or part of the purchase money. If the purchaser of any lot fails to comply with any such requirement the auctioneer may put up again and re-sell the lot; if upon such re-sale a lower price is obtained than was obtained on the first sale the purchaser in default on the first sale shall make good the difference in price and expenses of re-sale which shall become a debt due from him.
(c) Where an agent purchases on behalf of an undisclosed client such agent shall be personally liable for payment of the purchase money to the auctioneer and for safe delivery of the lot to the said client.
(a) The auctioneer reserves the rights to bid on behalf of clients including vendors, but shall not be liable for errors or omissions in executing instructions to bid.
(b) The auctioneer reserves the rights, before or during a sale, to group together lots belonging to the same vendor, to split up and to withdraw any lot or lots at the auctioneer's absolute discretion and without giving any reason in any case.
(c) The auctioneer acts as agent only, and therefore shall not be liable for any default of the purchaser or vendor.
(a) Each lot shall be at the purchaser's risk from the fall of the hammer and shall be paid for in full before delivery and taken away at his expense within one day of the sale. The buyer will be responsible for all removal, storage and insurance charges in respect of any lot which has not been collected within one day of the date of sale. (b) If any purchaser fails to pay in full for any lot within 21 days of the date of sale such lot may at any time thereafter at the auctioneer's discretion be put up for sale by auction again or sold privately; if upon such re-sale a lower price is obtained than was obtained on the first sale the purchaser in default on the first sale shall make good the difference in price and the expenses of re-sale which shall become debt due from him. (c) Interest at 2 per cent per month and legal costs (if any) for recovery of monies due shall be payable by the purchaser on any overdue account.
(a) Each buyer, by making a bid, acknowledges that he has satisfied himself as to the physical condition, age and catalogue description of each lot (including but not restricted to whether the lot is damaged or has been repaired or restored).
(b) All lots are sold with all faults and imperfections and errors of description and the Auctioneer and its employees, servants or agents shall not be responsible for any error of description or for the condition or authenticity of any lot, save for Clause 5 (c) below. Written or verbal condition reports may be supplied by the Auctioneer on request but these are merely statements of opinion, and any error or omission in these reports may not be taken as grounds for a cancellation of sale or refund of any part of the purchase price or the cost of any repairs to the lot or lots reported on
(c) A purchaser shall be at liberty to reject any lot if he - (i) gives the auctioneer written notice of intention to question the genuineness of the lot within seven days from the date of sale; AND (ii) proves that the lot is a deliberate forgery and (iii) returns to the auctioneer within 20 days from the date of sale the lot in the same condition as it was at the time of sale; provided that the auctioneer may, at his discretion, on receiving a request in writing from the purchaser, extend for a reasonable period the time for return of the lot to enable it to be submitted to expertisation. NOTE: The onus of proving a lot to be a deliberate forgery is on the purchaser.
(d) Where a lot has been submitted to expertisation, all costs of such expertisation shall be paid by the person who retains the certificate of expertisation and item or items to which the certificate relates.
(e) Where the purchaser of a lot discharges the onus and acts in accordance with sub-clause (b) of this clause, the auctioneer shall rescind the sale and repay to the purchaser the purchase money paid by him in respect of the lot.
(f) No lot shall be rejected if, subsequent to the sale, it has been marked by an expert committee or treated by any other process unless the auctioneer's permission to subject the lot to such treatment has first been obtained in writing.
(g) Any lot listed as a "collection, range, portfolio etc." or stated to comprise or contain a collection or range of items which are not described shall be put up for sale not subject to rejection and shall be taken by the purchaser with all (if any) faults, lack of genuineness and errors of description and numbers of items in the lot, and the purchaser shall have no right to reject the lot; except that, notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this sub-clause, where before a sale a person intending to bid at the sale gives notice in writing to, and satisfies the auctioneer that any such lot contains any item or items undescribed in the sale catalogue and that person specifically describes that item or those items in that notice, then that item or those items shall, as between the auctioneer and that person, to be taken to form part of the description of the lot.
The respective rights and obligations of the parties shall be governed and interpreted by Irish law, and the buyer hereby submits to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Irish Courts.
a) The buyer shall pay the Auctioneer a commission at the rate of 20% up to and including €3 million, and 13.5% of that part of the hammer price over €3 million. The Buyer's Premium is added to the hammer price of all lots and is subject to VAT at the prevailing rate.
(b) The Auctioneer or its employees, servants or agents may, on request organise packing and shipping of lots purchased or may order on the buyer's behalf third parties to pack or ship purchases. Under no circumstances does the Auctioneer accept any liability whatsoever for any loss or damage howsoever occasioned in the course of such service.
(c) The buyer authorises the Auctioneer to use any photographs or illustrations of any lot purchased for any or all purposes as the Auctioneer may require. The placing of a bid will be taken as full agreement to all the above conditions.
WHYTE AND SONS AUCTIONEERS LIMITED, 2018.
WHAT IS A TIMED AUCTION?
Timed auctions do not have an auctioneer calling the bids – there’s just a bidding time frame and whoever bids highest during the time frame wins. Each lot can be bid on for a defined time period. At the end of this period, the bidder who has submitted the highest bid wins the lot, provided the bid exceeds the reserve price. You tell us the most you’re willing to pay – and we’ll bid intelligently for you, only bidding enough for you to meet the reserve or stay in the lead. Don’t worry, your maximum bid is not disclosed, and is held in confidence on our bidding system.
WHEN ONLINE BIDDING STARTS – FROM 10AM ON 1 DECEMBER TO 13 DECEMBER (ENDING 6pm-10pm approximately) - YOU CAN LEAVE BIDS and your bid will start at one step above the previous bid or at the start price if no other bid. You will be notified by email if you get outbid before the auction starts.
ONCE THE AUCTION BEGINS TO FINISH ON 13 DECEMBER EMAIL NOTIFICATIONS CEASE and you should follow the auction on-line to see how your bids are doing. Make sure you have logged in if you wish to bid.
WHEN THE AUCTION BEGINS TO FINISH ON 13 DECEMBER the bidding for each lot remains open for 45 seconds at a start price determined by the reserve or bids already received. Each lot will be open and remain open for bidding until its end time is reached; the end time will be extended by 60 seconds if another bid is received. At the end time, if there are no further bids and the highest bid received equals or exceeds the re serve price the lot is sold to highest bidder.
• Log in or register bid.whytes.ie
• Visit the online auction catalogue
• Find the lot number you are interested in.
· The current highest bid will be displayed
• The minimum bid required to beat the highest bid will also be shown.
· You can place your bid. The screen will show the new highest bid and will indicate if that bid is yours. Note: if a previous bidder has left a bid that equals yours the previous bidder will win the lot unless you outbid them. If the screen doesn’t confirm that your bid is winning you will need to bid again if you wish to buy the lot. Don’t worry -the system will not allow you to bid against yourself.
• The live auction will begin at 6pm on Monday 29 November and will be sold in lot number order by the auctioneer.
• Invoices will be issued to successful bidders on Tuesday 30 November.
NOTE: For telephone and absentee bids email to email@example.com or telephone 01 6762888 or post to Whyte’s, 38 Molesworth Street, Dublin D02 KF80
Up to €300 x€10
Up to €700 x €20
Up to €1,300 x €50
Up to €3,000 x €100
Up to €7,000 x €200
Up to €13,000 x €500
Up to €30,000 x €1,000
Up to €40,000 x €2,000
Up to €70,000 x €2,000
Up to €130,000 x €5,000
Up to €500,000 x €10,000
A FEW TIPS FOR ABSENTEE BIDDERS:
Bid the maximum price you would pay for the lot; we will try and secure the lot for you at the lowest possible price. For instance if you bid €2,000 on a lot and the highest other bid we receive is €1,200 you get it for €1,250. Most people tend to bid in round numbers, e.g. €500. It’s often a good idea to bid an odd number, e.g. €520, or €540 which will outbid an even number. Check the results the day after the sale: these are published on our website www.whytes.ie at about 10am on the day after the sale. Successful bidders are also notified of results by mail.
Buyers Premium of 20%plus VAT (24.6% in total) will be added to your winning bid amount. Your invoice will detail all the payment, collection and shipping particulars. There is no additional fee for bidding online with Whyte's
TIE BIDS: if two or more equal bids are received the lot will be sold to the first received.