Tony O’Malley (1913-2003) was a self-taught painter from Callan in County Kilkenny who developed a passion for art from a young age, painting for pleasure. Though he started his career in banking, a battle with illness forced him to turn his full attention towards art, eventually taking it on as a profession.
He spent some time in St Ives in Cornwall where he took strong influence from the St Ives artistic community. When his close friend Peter Lanyon was killed in a plane crash, O’Malley dedicated many of his paintings to his memory and took on a more sombre palette. It wasn’t until he married and travelled to the Bahamas around a decade later that his work became characterised by a use of bolder colours.
The artist was elected a Saoi of Aosdána and the Irish Museum of Modern Art held a major retrospective of his work in 2005.